Author Archives: Admin2

April 24 2019

Auto ‘very difficult policy to understand,’ says broker-turned-parliamentarian

The Ontario government wants to make the auto claims process easier to navigate and less cumbersome, a politician who used to be a broker told the legislature last week. 
 
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S8E12 – Objection Overruled: Law Firm Advertising

This week, we explore the world of law firm advertising. Some of it good, some of it bad, but a handful of it highly creative. We’ll break down the lawyer advertising laws that get some firms in trouble, we’ll look at the controversial billboard that got one lawyer death threats and the YouTube campaign that went viral – earning a divorce firm over 90M impressions. 
 
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Incident involving a car door, punches in the face considered an accident – L.L. and Intact Insurance Co., Re 2019 CarswellOnt 3604

WAS IT AN ACCIDENT: definition of accident; what is an incident/accident; did the injury occur as a result o f the normal use of an automobile; 
 
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Structures now unique in ability to preserve ODSP benefits

Oatley Vigmond Partner Troy Lehman is quoted in the April 1, 2019 edition of Law Times, a Thomson Reuters publication dedicated to providing the latest news in Ontario’s legal scene. 
 
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Aviva Canada insurance changes leave some drivers scrambling

Insurer Aviva Canada has implemented new — and what some call drastic — auto policy changes that some motorists are not happy about. 
 
 
 
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Despite budget cuts, Ford ‘guarantees’ anyone who needs legal aid will get it

Despite cuts to Ontario’s legal aid system announced in the 2019 Ontario budget, Premier Doug Ford says he guarantees that anyone who needs legal aid will receive it. 
 
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Changing ODSP’s Definition of Disability Will Hurt

The Ontario Disability Support Program needs a serious overhaul.  Many things need to be changed.  But the program’s definition of disability is not one of them. 
 
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2019 CMA Health Summit – Patient Program Application Form

The CMA Health Summit Patient Program is for patients and caregivers with lived experience in health care who want to be part of the conversation on today’s most pressing health issues. 
 
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‘Feeling bionic!’ Disabled take big steps forward with Surrey’s robotic walker

The Liberal MLA and former cabinet minister was a passenger in a pickup truck that rolled off a highway near Bellingham, Wash. 
 
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Norman Doidge, MD, is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and author of The Brain That Changes Itself and The Brain’s Way of Healing. He is on the research faculty at Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research and on the faculty at the University of Toronto’s department of psychiatry.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-in-ontario-a-battle-for-the-soul-of-psychiatry/

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Smith v. Muir, 2019 ONSC 2431 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/hzvpk  
 

[15]           According to Dr. Beltesky’s affidavit on this motion, he was told by the man who served the summons that he needed to follow the instructions in the letter from Mr. Zuber. He interpreted the letter to mean that he was obliged to send his complete chart to Mr. Zuber’s office. He consulted some unnamed colleagues who advised that since the letter was worded as it was, he should send his file which he did.

[16]           Dr. Beletsky deposed that he also called Mr. Zuber’s office and spoke to a woman sometime between December 19 and 21 as directed. He believes it was Colleen Skynner. Ms. Skynner told him that “they required my full chart, meaning all documentation, every single related page.” Dr. Beletsky felt that he was misled by Mr. Zuber’s letter into sending his patient’s records to defence counsel even though he knew that he was not supposed to disclose those records without the patient’s consent.

[33]           I am satisfied that the covering letter which accompanied the summons served on Drs. Baass and Beletsky went too far and breached the limits reflected in Burgess.

[34]           I turn now to the application of the test for removal of counsel.

[35]           Mr. Zuber is an experienced, senior personal injury lawyer. The letters that accompanied the summons to witness are standard form letters that he has used for years. This is not a case where a law clerk inadvertently sent out a letter under his name. Rather, the content of the letter reflects a standard operating procedure that he has used for many years without any apparent complaint until now.

[36]           The letter, summons and follow-up telephone call with Dr. Beletsky caused Dr. Beletsky to deliver the content of his file to Mr. Zuber’s office. In this case, the documentation produced is exactly the same as that previously provided. One can well imagine that there may be circumstances where some redaction would be appropriate or irrelevant but embarrassing confidential information could have been inadvertently disclosed. It is a matter of chance that that did not occur in this case.

[37]           I find that a fair-minded and reasonably informed member of the public would be troubled by defence counsel’s conduct but would not remove him as counsel of record on the facts in this case. Frankly, it is a close call. The result may well have been different if the circumstances in preceding paragraph had occurred or if the discussions between Ms. Skinner and Dr. Beletsky had strayed further into confidential matters. I am mindful of the Court of Appeal’s admonition that removal of counsel should occur in only the rarest of cases. In this case, removal is not necessary in the interests of justice.  

April 23 2019

How Ontario government plans to work with industry on auto reform

The Ontario government plans to work with the industry on implementing a number of changes to auto insurance, including doubling accident benefits coverage for catastrophic impairment. 
 
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Province restores $2 million benefit limit for catastrophically injured

Ontario’s new provincial budget calls for changes in benefits for catastrophically injured patients and a review of contingency fee arrangements. 
 
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Report: Auto insurance rates continue to rise in Ontario, Alberta, and Atlantic Canada

TORONTOApril 23, 2019 /CNW/ – Today, LowestRates.ca, an online comparison site for personal finance products like insurance, mortgages, loans and credit cards, released its Q1 2019 Auto Insurance Price Index, which uses proprietary data to track the average cost of car insurance in Canada each quarter. The report found rates are up across OntarioAlberta, and Atlantic Canada in the first quarter of 2019, with drivers in Alberta seeing the steepest increase in the country—11.22% since last year.

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‘Slap in the face’: Postal code change leaves couple facing insurance hike

An Ontario couple saw their home and auto insurance premiums increase to the tune of hundreds of dollars per year because of a change in their address – even though they didn’t move. 
 
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Toronto van attack survivor deemed catastrophically injured

TORONTO – Aleksandra Kozhevnikova doesn’t remember being hit by the van that careened through north Toronto and mowed down pedestrians on a busy thoroughfare last April. 
 
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Ontario abandons property ownership as source of jurors

Ontario is making a fundamental change to the province’s justice system by vastly expanding the pool of potential jurors to better reflect economic and racial diversity following a 2018 Toronto Star/Ryerson School of Journalism investigation into racially imbalanced juries. 
 
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Amendments to the Juries Act in Ontario

The current jury system has long been criticized in Ontario, in particular in regards to its diversity and representation. Hints in Ontario’s recent budget suggest some changes are forthcoming. 
 
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LAT Rules Chronic Pain Falls Outside MIG

The LAT (Licence Appeal Tribunal of Ontario) has ruled that Chronic pain is NOT a minor injury. This is good news for many who have been in car accidents or workplace accidents and who find themselves suffering from chronic pain. Insurance companies have long minimized chronic pain in their assessments and compensation to injured victims. 
 
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As fewer patients sue their doctor, the rate of winning malpractice suits is dropping too

There’s no question the CMPA has significant resources to support doctors in a legal fight. The association’s most recent annual report from 2017 shows the CMPA holds $4.5 billion in assets.

But for patients who find it difficult to fund their own cases, many may be surprised to learn they are also indirectly funding the doctors’ legal expenses.

April 18, 2019

ODSP Protest March and Rally – more info to come!

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM EDT
     
The protest march begins at Yonge St and Bloor St at 10:30 am. We are protesting that ODSP and OW benefits are to low and need to be raised substantially, basically the Basic Needs and Rent portions need to be almost doubled at least. We will proceed down Yonge St to Dundas St and go west to University Ave and up to Queen’s Park.
The rally at Queen’s park to begin at 12:00 noon and go until 2:00pm. Please make placards, banners and signs. No profanity please! And don’t forget to bring a lunch.
Looking forward to seeing everyone there, bring your friends, your relatives and neighbors.
Sincerely, Isabella Gamk  
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A proposed law tucked into last week’s Ontario budget has alarmed lawyers, who describe the government’s planned legislation as a potentially unconstitutional attempt to insulate the province from lawsuits. 
 
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Crash Support Network

Crash Support Network is based on relationship-building & puts the needs of survivors first by creating a helpful resource. Read more about our website launch in my latest blog
 
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SRL-Lawyer Dialogue: Are SRLs crazy or just fed up?

This blog is the first in a series in which lawyers (and other justice professionals) ask self-represented litigants a question which SRLs try to answer – and vice versa.
 
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As fewer patients sue their doctor, the rate of winning malpractice suits is dropping too

When a doctor makes a mistake, data obtained by CBC shows seeking compensation can be an uphill battle

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British Columbia AG limits expert use in injury claims

British Columbia has brought in amendments to its Supreme Court Civil Rules regulations,  which will limit the number of experts and expert reports that can be used in motor vehicle disputes, with further amendments effective next year on all injury claims. 
 
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Dewitt v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 2019 ONSC 2349 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/hztcl 
 

[59]        Pursuant to s. 35(3) of the SABS regulation, payments of benefits are to be made “[w]ithin 10 business days after the insurer receives the application and completed disability certificate”. Section 46(2) interest accrues on any overdue amount from the date the amount became overdue. I would therefore fix March 30, 2006 (the date that was 11 business days after March 15, 2006) as the date from which plaintiff’s IRB payments became overdue and the date from which s. 46(2) interest should accrue.

Conclusion and Disposition

[60]        For these reasons, I declare as follows:

(a)         for the period between February 20, 2004 and March 29, 2006, simple (i.e. non-compound) interest is to be calculated on the bi-weekly sums due to plaintiff, from the date each payment was due, at the applicable rate for pre-judgment interest under the Courts of Justice Act;

(b)         starting on March 30, 2006, the total principal due as of that date and the accumulated interest calculated under (a) shall bear interest calculated pursuant to s. 46(2) of the SABS regulation;

(c)         starting on March 30, 2006, the further bi-weekly sums due to plaintiff shall bear interest calculated pursuant to s. 46(2) of the SABS regulation.

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Overdue Payments

46 (1) An amount payable in respect of a benefit is overdue if the insurer fails to pay the benefit within the time required under this Part.  O. Reg. 403/96, s. 46 (1).

(2) If payment of a benefit under this Regulation is overdue, the insurer shall pay interest on the overdue amount for each day the amount is overdue from the date the amount became overdue at the rate of 2 per cent per month compounded monthly.  O. Reg. 403/96, s. 46 (2).

Equates to 26.8% per year

April 17, 2019

 

EDITORIAL: Ford’s right, auto insurance is broken 

As the Fair Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform (FAIR) notes, this means they have to hire their own lawyers and medical experts to counter their insurance companies’ lawyers and medical experts, eating up billions of dollars that should be spent on treatment.  
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What the Ontario Budget Means to Innocent Accident Victims and the Administration of Justice in Ontario

The 2019 Ontario budget entitled “Protecting What Matters Most” was released on April 11, 2019. It purports to look after the interest of the ‘little guy’. Sadly the budget suggests that access to justice and protection of the rights of innocent accident victims is not a high priority for this Government. Despite an underfunded, complex and antiquated justice system, the Government plans to reduce overall funding to the justice sector. 
 
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Healthcare Providers Respond to Auto Reform Announcements with Cautious Optimism

The Ontario Rehab Alliance (ORA), representing healthcare providers in the auto sector, sees much to applaud in the blueprint to improve the province’s auto insurance system presented in the 2019 Budget. “On behalf of our seriously injured clients we are thrilled with the return to the higher level of coverage for catastrophic injuries and relieved that this government has protected other accident benefits after years of cuts”, says Laurie Davis, Executive Director of the ORA.

http://www.fairassociation.ca/2019/04/healthcare-providers-respond-to-auto-reform-announcements-with-cautious-optimism/

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Rehab First Auto Insurance Submission to Finance Minister Fedeli

Auto insurance in Ontario is segmented according to nine lines of coverage. Our submission focuses on the two lines which represent the largest percentage of claim
costs, they being the Statutory Accident Benefit and Third Party Liability-Personal Injury lines. According to FSCO, in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 calendar years, those lines,
respectively, accounted for 58.1%, 56.2% and 52.4% of auto insurance claims costs.
 
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Traffic accident a case of the ‘unusual and usual:’ Paciocco

A “rare” case where a passenger suddenly grabbed the steering wheel of a car causing an accident presents different problems and challenges, Windsor personal injury lawyer Gino Paciocco tells AdvocateDaily.com
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Cannabis arrest exposes flaws in new impaired driving laws

The arrest of a Nova Scotia motorist whose saliva tested positive for cannabis demonstrates an inherent flaw in Canada’s new impaired driving legislation, Toronto criminal lawyer Jacob Stilman tells AdvocateDaily.com
 
 

April 16, 2019

What your auto client may like about Ontario budget

Some Ontario motorists would like an auto insurance system that lets carriers offer lower rates to clients who use the carriers’ preferred collision repair or healthcare facilities, an Insurance Bureau of Canada official suggests. 
 
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Cutting Legal Aid: Reducing Access to Justice and Increasing Other Social Costs 

People who cannot afford lawyers (or in some cases paralegals) are at risk of not having their rights vindicated. Or they may not even try to assert their rights in the first place. A great number of ad hoc arrangements have been created to respond to this failure to provide access to justice, but the most systematic is the legal aid system. 
 
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Illegal activity doesn’t preclude accident benefits

The Divisional Court case upheld a Licence Appeal Tribunal adjudicator’s decision to award accident benefits to a woman who hit her head on concrete during a “car surfing” accident. 
 
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Sustainability of self-regulation scrutinized

Bencher candidate John Nunziata says he thinks the provincial government may have to intervene in the legal profession’s self-regulation model following the bencher election ending April 30. 
 
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Ontario to launch redesigned driver’s licence to prevent fraud, identity theft

TORONTO — The Ontario driver’s licence is getting a facelift that the Progressive Conservative government said will help combat fraud and identity theft. 
 
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Ontario Health Claims Database HCDB Standard Report 2018 

 Effective February 1, 2011, Ontario health care facilities (including their associated health care providers) use the Health Claims for Auto Insurance (HCAI) system to submit Ontario Claims Forms (OCFs) 18, 21 and 23 to Ontario licensed automobile insurers. Insurers use the same system to communicate their decisions to the health care facilities.
 
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Ford government to merge ambulance services across Ontario

The Ford government intends to merge the 59 local ambulance services in Ontario into just 10, CBC News has learned.  
 
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Caregivers as Partners education for health care providers

Created by The Change Foundation, in partnership with the Changing CARE teams, Caregivers as Partners is an educational series for providers that helps them improve the experience of family caregivers through practical tips and examples. 
 
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Neck Pain from Accidents

When a person is involved in any type of accident, whether this is a car accident or a workplace accident, people first start looking for visible injuries. Visible injuries include seeing blood or even bone sticking out of the skin from broken arms or the like. 
 
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Here’s why your car insurance bill is too high, and why that’s so hard to fix

Understanding the problems plaguing the Newfoundland and Labrador car insurance industry is about as easy as a foggy drive down a pothole-ridden highway. 
 
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NL government reveals planned adjustments for auto insurance system

Newfoundland and Labrador’s government has unveiled a plan to fix the province’s increasingly pricey auto insurance – but not everyone is happy about some of the measures proposed. 
 

April 15, 2019

FAIR Press Release: 

Positive News for Ontario’s Injured Car Accident Survivors

For further information: Rhona DesRoches, FAIR, Board Chair at fairautoinsurance@gmail.com

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IBC: Everyone is “optimistic” for changes to Ontario’s auto insurance

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has high hopes that the Ontario government’s plan to fix the province’s “broken” auto insurance can help reduce premiums for drivers. 
 
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Your insurance company can make you update your information any time, even if you haven’t moved or suddenly become an Uber driver. 
 
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How the industry is tackling insurance fraud

Insurers need to work with regulators and other carriers to help fight the growing problem of insurance fraud, industry professionals say. 
 
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Ontario PCs want to make it next to impossible to sue the government

Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are moving to make it harder to sue the Ontario government. 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/proceedings-against-the-crown-act-repeal-replace-pcs-1.5097205

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Common Limitation Period Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
There are numerous “pitfalls” that can lead to missed limitation periods and other limitation period problems. Some of these pitfalls are relatively easy to avoid whereas others can trip up even the most skilled and careful of lawyers. 
 
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Province launches new personal support worker registry

The province has launched a new registry to track personal support workers, in what some experts are calling a move to create more regulation for one of Ontario’s largest groups of frontline healthcare providers. 
 
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How Does Music Affect Your Brain? Every Imaginable Way

Waking up. Working out. Riding the bus. Music is an ever-present companion for many of us, and its impact is undeniable. You know music makes you move and triggers emotional responses, but how and why? What changes when you play music, rather than simply listen? In the latest episode of Tech Effects, we tried to find out. Our first stop was USC’s Brain & Creativity Institute, where I headed into the fMRI to see how my brain responded to musical cues—and how my body did, too. 
 
 
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Injured veterans turning to medical marijuana in increasing numbers

The number of injured veterans using medical marijuana has skyrocketed, according to Veterans Affairs Canada, while opioid use has decreased.

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‘Barely hanging on to life’: Roger Foley shares his fight for home care with UN envoy

A United Nations disabilities advocate says “systemic change” is desperately needed after she toured Canada to review cases of people with disabilities, including a complaint from a terminally ill man who has been in a London, Ont., hospital while fighting to get self-directed care at home. 
 
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Scalabrini. v. Kahn, 2019 ONSC 2278 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/hznqj 
 
[3]                                 The Plaintiff submits that the Proposed Plaintiff’’s injuries could only be discovered after the full impact of the Plaintiff, her husband’s injuries and impairments had set in and impacted her life and the safety of their living environment, which occurred on or about October 1, 2018.  As a consequence it is submitted that the evidence shows reason to add Cinzia as a Plaintiff pursuant to the Family Law Act to the within action, on the basis of discoverability.

[37]                    I am satisfied that there is a reasonable possibility that the Proposed Plaintiff could not have known the full extent and severity that her husband’s injuries would have upon her. It was not until the Proposed Plaintiff began to experience health concerns on account of the mold growing in her house, that the full extent of her own injuries became apparent, as well as the extent of her expenses incurred for the benefit of the Plaintiff, housekeeping services performed in place of the Plaintiff, and losses in care, guidance and companionship became apparent.

[38]                    A consideration of the relevant factors as outlined above leads me to only one conclusion. The Court should grant the leave sought by the moving party.

Assessor’s medical opinion evidence, libel, and public interest case

Maia Bent, et al. v. Howard Platnick, et al., 2019 CanLII 35199 (SCC)

More detail re SCC leave to appeal https://www.scc-csc.ca/case-dossier/info/dock-regi-eng.aspx?cas=38374

Platnick v. Bent, 2018 ONCA 851 (CanLII)

Platnick v. Bent, 2018 ONCA 687 (CanLII)

Platnick v Bent, 2017 ONSC 585 (CanLII)

Platnick v. Bent – Endorsement (1) ONSC 7340 20161201

Platnick v. Bent – Endorsement Re Preliminary Motion (2) ONSC 7474 20161201

Statement of Claim – FILED – 3334-15 – September 3

The original media story: http://www.insurancebusiness.ca/ca/news/auto/medical-files-routinely-altered-to-suit-insurers-claims-fair-186692.aspx?p=1

The latest stories in the media:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/doctors-insurance-independent-medical-examinations/article37141790/

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/12/08/md-who-wrote-misleading-insurance-report-under-investigation.html

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/ontario-doctor-misrepresented-views-on-catastrophic-injuries-to-benefit-insurer-judge-rules

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/12/06/toronto-doctor-cant-sue-over-substantially-true-warning-he-altered-medical-reports-to-thwart-insurance-claims.html

Letter to MPPs regarding medical file manipulations Dec 23 2014

more info see: http://www.fairassociation.ca/the-independent-medical-examination-imeie/  and   http://www.fairassociation.ca/ime-providers-adverse-comments/

http://www.fairassociation.ca/muzzling-criticism/ 

Healthcare Providers Respond to Auto Reform Announcements with Cautious Optimism

The Ontario Rehab Alliance (ORA), representing healthcare providers in the auto sector, sees much to applaud in the blueprint to improve the province’s auto insurance system presented in the 2019 Budget.

“On behalf of our seriously injured clients we are thrilled with the return to the higher level of coverage for catastrophic injuries and relieved that this government has protected other accident benefits after years of cuts”, says Laurie Davis, Executive Director of the ORA.

ORA Media Release – Heathcare Providers Cautiously Optimistic About Auto Reform

Rehab First Auto Insurance Submission to Finance Minister Fedeli

Auto insurance in Ontario is segmented according to nine lines of coverage. Our submission focuses on the two lines which represent the largest percentage of claim
costs, they being the Statutory Accident Benefit and Third Party Liability-Personal
Injury lines. According to FSCO, in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 calendar years, those lines,
respectively, accounted for 58.1%, 56.2% and 52.4% of auto insurance claims costs.

Rehab First – 2019-Auto Insce Accessibility Affordability Submission to Minister Fedeli

Positive News for Ontario’s Injured Car Accident Survivors

TORONTO, April 15, 2019 PRESS RELEASE – Last week Ontario’s drivers received the first positive news they’ve heard in over a decade.

FAIR is pleased to see that coverage for the most injured of accident victims will be increased to the pre-June 2016 level of $2 million in med/rehab benefits for catastrophically injured Ontarians.

The concerns of motor vehicle accident (MVA) survivors under the previous government had been ignored and the erosion of coverage had allowed insurers to download a significant number of victims onto taxpayers who were already paying some of the highest premiums in Canada.

Auto insurance has been dysfunctional and broken for many years and this has left injured Ontarians to fend for themselves to find treatments when insurers ignored their responsibilities. The changes in the 2019 Budget are the first indication that this government was listening to consumers and they have a taken a good first step to improve things for this vulnerable population.

Car accident victims in Ontario have faced many barriers to recovery, both in the medical file manipulations by insurers who have been dodging the responsibility owed to their injured customers and in the increased legal costs of holding their insurers accountable.

According to Tammy Kirkwood, Vice Chair of FAIR “This government listened and heard the need for positive changes for the victims of MVA. It will be a good thing to see that insurance is going to start working to be the safety net we need after the traumatic event of an auto accident.” Ms. Kirkwood is herself a survivor of a horrific car accident with a dump truck some years ago and has dedicated much of her time to ensure that others have the same recovery options and resources as she did post accident. “We all deserve to be the best we can be and insurers should be on board with that as a promise to their injured customers.”

FAIR looks forward to working with stakeholders in a new era of “Putting Drivers First” in Ontario and toward protecting the rights of injured consumers to access the treatments they need in order to reach maximum recovery.

‘FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education’

SOURCE: FAIR Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform 

For further information: Rhona DesRoches, FAIR, Board Chair at fairautoinsurance@gmail.com, http://www.fairassociation.ca