• FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education
  • FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education
  • FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education
  • FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education

Latest News Articles

FAIR does not accept responsibility for comments, opinions, statistical information etc. associated with the links listed below. Any opinions, points of view, etc. are not necessarily shared by FAIR.

For a complete list of recent articles, please go to our 'Media Articles' page under 'In the News'.
We are updating our site and we appreciate your patience.

April 8, 2020

Left behind financially in the Emergency Response Benefit?

Here’s where to reach your Ontario MPP https://ola.org/en/members/current/contact-information  
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How COVID-19 is probably affecting your auto claimants

“People will regress rather than being able to maintain whatever progress they have made past an accident,” said Rhona DesRoches, chair of the board of FAIR Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform, in an interview. 
 
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Advocates pushing for this temporary accident benefit reform

FAIR Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform has heard that some motor vehicle accident victims are reluctant to have a team of healthcare providers at their homes while social distancing precautions are in effect, Rhona DesRoches, FAIR’s chair of the board told Canadian Underwriter. This in turn highlights an existing insurance regulation around how insurance reimburses attendant care by non-professional providers (such as a family member of the victim, for example). 
 
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National class action lawsuit launched against insurers refusing to pay coronavirus-related claims

A law firm in Regina, SK has filed a national class action lawsuit against some of Canada’s largest indemnity insurers for their refusal to pay business owners for losses sustained due to the coronavirus outbreak. 
 
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Desjardins to offer a refund to auto insurance clients driving less

The refund will be offered to clients whose commuting habits have “significantly changed” and who only use their vehicles for essential trips (i.e., going to the pharmacy or grocery), a release said. Desjardins’ refund program is open to anyone who has lost their job, working from home, or is otherwise self-isolating. 
 
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Allstate to return $600 mln in auto premiums as coronavirus cuts driving

Allstate Corp, one of the largest U.S. auto insurers, said on Monday it would return more than $600 million in premiums to customers as many Americans drive less due to stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing the coronavirus outbreak. 
 
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Cost Of Catastrophic Impairment Assessment Paid Outside Of Person’s Medical And Rehab Limits – RB v. RSA

RB was involved in a car accident in April 2017 and sougth benefits pursuant to the SABs. He was denied certain benefits and cost of examinations by RSA and applied to the LAT. 
 
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COVID-19 Financial Supports

The public health measures enacted to protect Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic is having major impacts on individuals and businesses. Both the Canadian and Ontario government, along with the private sector, have introduced measures to assist those who are facing challenges, outlined below. 
 
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NOTICES AND ORDERS – COVID-19

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Information on COVID-19

As COVID-19 evolves, the provincial and federal government continue to update their resources.

We encourage you to regularly review the websites of the Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario (PHO) for the most accurate, up-to-date information. 

 
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Guidance for the Health Sector

The case definition for COVID-19 has been updated and is current as of March 30 2020. This information may change frequently, please check back often for updates. 

 
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Ottawa’s COVID-19 benefits program opens for applications 

OTTAWA — Applications open today for the new federal emergency aid benefit for Canadians who lost their income because of COVID-19. 
 
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Questions and Answers on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit 

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Canada’s emergency relief leaves out those on social assistance

The federal government is providing financial relief for Canadians laid off amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but some groups are finding themselves excluded. 
 
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Open Letter urges Ontario to boost support for people on social assistance

A coalition of more than 130 health care workers, community agencies and Ontarians living in poverty is urging Queen’s Park to increase benefits immediately to almost one million residents on social assistance struggling to survive during the COVID-19 crisis. 
 
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To survive we need rent cancelled and basic income, people on social assistance say

While most Canadians are struggling under COVID-19, with many businesses shut down, local advocates argue that those at, or below, the poverty line will be hardest hit.  
 
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CANADA: Financial inequality ‘staggering’ for Canadians with disabilities, expert says

In Ontario, Doug Ford’s Conservative government has been toying with cutting benefits and other supports, including in education. While the government has since backed off cutting Ontario Works, Ontario residents with disabilities continue to live under the persistent threat of losing whatever little economic independence they have. 
 
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Caregiver Advisory Panel 

This province-wide online discussion forum is an ongoing opportunity for caregivers to provide regular input and feedback on some of our caregiver-focused ideas, tools and programs, and be surveyed on different aspects of the caregiving experience on a regular basis. 
 
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Why COVID-19 has personal support workers feeling uneasy during home-care visits

Personal support workers who care for clients inside their homes are among the essential service providers who don’t feel safe on the job due to a lack of personal protective equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
 
 

April 1, 2020

How Car Insurers Can Help Accident Victims During The COVID-19 Crisis

We are in the midst of an unprecedented COVID-19 Crisis, and while everyone is facing challenges, individuals who were already recovering from traumatic injuries face unique challenges. 
 
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Thousands of Canadian dentists who followed industry recommendations to shut down their practices nearly two weeks ago because of the COVID-19 outbreak have still not received insurance payments despite taking out business interruption policies that include pandemic coverage. 
 
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Insurers are under the gun as coronavirus claims mount — but will those claims be covered?

When Dr. Michael Duchnay had to close his west end Toronto dental practice due to the pandemic, it was catastrophic, but there was one stroke of good luck: He had insurance. In fact, his business policy explicitly mentioned pandemic-caused closures. 
 
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COVID-19 and your insurance

On March 23, Ontario announced the closure of non-essential business. “We’re prepared to extend the order if necessary,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at the time. The closures took effect March 24 at 11:59. Quebec has also shut down business until at least April 13. 
 
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Changes to Our Courts: How COVID-19 Is Changing the Landscape 

“How will COVID-19 change the legal industry and what will it look like After Coronavirus? Short answer: the coronavirus will turbocharge legal industry transformation. It will propel law into the digital age and reshape its landscape. The entire legal ecosystem will be affected—consumers, providers, the Academy, and the judicial system.” – Marc Cohen in the article “COVID-19 Will Turbocharge Legal Industry Transformation” 
 
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There’s a time limit in my legal case that I can’t meet because of COVID-19. What can I do?
 
There are rules about how much time you have to start a legal case or when steps in your case must be taken. As of March 16, 2020, all time limits to start a case in Ontario law have stopped running. This is because of an emergency government order (link is external)
 
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Courts scramble to modernize to keep the system working in a pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Canada’s court system to operate as it never has before to adapt to the demands of physical distancing. 
 
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About the LAT

On March 20, 2020, the Government of Ontario issued an Emergency Order (O.Reg. 73/20) under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. 

The order suspends limitation periods and procedural time periods relevant to tribunal proceedings. The suspension is retroactive to March 16, 2020. 

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Ontario Protecting Critical Front-Line Justice Services in Response to COVID-19

“The health and well-being of Ontarians is our government’s number one priority. This commitment extends across the vast network of justice partners and individuals who interact with the justice system on a daily basis. 
 
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RE: FSRA’S GUIDANCE AND PROMPT RESPONSE SOUGHT RE PANDEMIC RELATED ISSUES
 
Along with all healthcare providers we’ve been asked to do our part and help mitigate the impact of this pandemic on our most vulnerable populations and onour acute care sector. We are ready and anxious to do so. Help us do our part. 
 
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The biggest economic policy challenge we face during COVID-19 is addressing the massive and widespread loss of work prompted by government-mandated physical distancing. That’s not to minimize other such challenges, but the loss of work is vast and unprecedented. 
 
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Ellen Roseman: Financial resources you can turn to in the COVID-19 crisis

Are you anxious and confused about the far-reaching effects of the new coronavirus on your finances? You’re not alone.

In a recent survey by financial technology company Borrowell, 74% of Canadians report feeling stress brought on by the health crisis. More than 40% say their biggest financial worry is how to pay for necessities, such as food and rent. And 32% have no plan in place if funds run too low to pay bills.

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Canadians who didn’t have a job even before coronavirus: what help can they get?

The coronavirus pandemic has attracted a historic response from the federal government, with Ottawa pledging around $200 billion to rescue the economy. But across the country, Canadians who already didn’t have a job when the pandemic struck are wondering what support, if any, they’ll be able to access. 
 
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New Ontario Works payment pickup procedures in Toronto during coronavirus outbreak

Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program cheques and payment cards will be distributed beginning Monday under new social distancing protocols. 
 
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Nonvisible disabilities: How to accommodate workers’ limitations

One in five Canadians between the ages of 25 and 64 has at least one disability, according to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability. That’s about 4 million adults who experience limitations, many of which are not immediately apparent to others. 
 

March 26, 2020

UPDATED 3/25: Plain language guide to federal and provincial income benefits for people struggling to make ends meet  
I need to take sick leave because I’m ill or self-isolating or have to quarantine.
 
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North Bay father calls for EI changes

Johnny Demerse of North Bay is calling for changes to Employment Insurance (EI) which, he believes, penalizes his daughter and others on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). 
 
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ABI Info Series Week 4 – Community and Government Resources

BIST Transitional Support Coordinator Laura Bellon discusses how non-profit community and government resources can help after #braininjury. This is part of our 5 Session ABI Info Series held in March 2020. The session was held as a webinar due to the COVID-19 Outbreak 
 
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ABI Info Series

TOPIC: Implementation of Compensatory Strategies after a Brain Injury
Speakers: Speech Language Therapist Simone Friedman & Occupational Therapist Natalie Kalymon
 
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COVID-19 and Ontario’s courts

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice have taken the necessary and unprecedented step of shuttering their courtrooms to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus. 
 
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Optional Accident Benefits

When you renew your automobile insurance policy, you have a variety of options to increase your coverage in the event that you are injured. The basic policy may seem appealing to most, as it has the lowest premiums. However, if you ask anyone who has been injured in an accident, the standard coverage is simply not enough. 
 
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Why it matters that insurance is declared to be an “essential service”

The insurance industry will continue to operate as an essential service after Quebec and Ontario issued orders for many companies to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And that’s a relief for consumers, brokers and insurers, say industry leaders. 
 
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Driver’s Licence Check

Use this service to obtain information on the status of an Ontario Driver’s Licence.

March 24, 2020

How your personal injury case is impacted by COVID-19

This installment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog is intended to focus specifically on the impact which COVID-19 will have on your personal injury case. 
 
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Demand a COVID-19 Emergency Basic Income in Canada

Canadians across the nation are in dire need. Many of us cannot afford basic needs while following the best available medical advice. We are worried for our families, neighbours, and friends as government supports will be unable to cover everyone’s unique circumstances.The measures announced to date still leave far too many Canadians at risk of falling through the cracks or unable to navigate the many conditions these programs impose. 
 
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Your guide to COVID-19 and its impact on life in Canada

Travel restrictions, school closures and event cancellations are the new normal in Canada, and phrases like “self-isolation” and “social distancing” are now part of the collective lexicon. 
 
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Changes to Ontario’s Emergency Assistance Program in Response to COVID-19

Vulnerable Ontarians, including those who live in poverty, are homeless or unemployed, face even more significant impacts as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 
 
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Accessing Income Support in the wake of COVID-19

This document lists several income support programs that may be available to Ontario residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information is changing rapidly and we recommend that you check with the relevant government’s website for updated information. 
 
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Doctors turn to phones to fulfill patients’ non-virus needs

The University Health Network (UHN) says the phone is the new normal for hooking up with a doctor. But they are also online for advice. 
 
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Ontario Family Doctors now offering OHIP covered phone consultations in response to COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, family doctors are now offering OHIP covered phone-in appointments to all Ontario residents. Check with your family doctor to see if they are participating in this form of patient care. If they are not available or you do not have a family doctor, we are here to help!
 
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“An auto-insurance policy is a contract.” said Malon Edwards, spokesman for the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) in an e-mail. “Both the policyholder and the auto insurer are bound by it.”

FSRA couldn’t immediately provide recent statistics on the amount of insurance fraud in Ontario every year.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/drive/mobility/article-if-ive-told-a-few-small-white-lies-to-my-auto-insurance-company-can/

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RSA Canada: “We are all victims of insurance fraud”

Insurance fraud costs Canadian consumers upwards of $1 billion annually. The math is simple. When one person cheats the system by making a false or exaggerated claim, everybody pays the price. 
 
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Personal Injury Legal Report: Debate over capping damages rages on

In Canada, not all caps on pain and suffering are created equal. But what is constant is that, no matter what the regime, no matter where the jurisdiction, provincial governments are under constant pressure from insurance lobbies to cap the money paid to victims of car accidents, personal injury lawyers say — despite the fact there’s a clear relationship between increased government interference and higher costs to both sides.  
 
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Why Canada’s P&C industry is ready to absorb hit of pandemic-induced recession

Already under financial strain due to tightening markets in several lines of business, Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry nevertheless seems well-positioned to withstand a global recession triggered by the novel coronavirus pandemic — at least in the short term. 
 

March 19, 2020

Acts of kindness during a pandemic: How Canadians are helping each other amid COVID-19

More than 35 Facebook groups have been created in the span of just three days in places such as Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa with thousands of members, according to the BBC
 
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Editorial: Massive relief package is only the first step

Twenty-seven billion dollars will be direct support to citizens and businesses, while $55 billion is intended to help businesses maintain liquidity. The latter amount will come through deferred taxes. 
 
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Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses 

On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses. 
 
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Coronavirus: Here’s how to apply for EI and the new COVID-19 emergency benefit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a sweeping economic aid package to help Canadians impacted by the new coronavirus pandemic, including direct financial support for workers who wouldn’t ordinarily qualify for employment insurance benefits. 
 
 
Government of Canada Information Hotline for EI claims related to COVID19
1(833)381-2725
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Ontario Extending Validation Periods for Driver, Vehicle and Carrier Products, Services and Health Cards

As part of the province’s enhanced measures, the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and ServiceOntario, is extending the validity period of driving products, services and health cards. These changes reduce the need for in-person visits to ServiceOntario, International Registration Plan offices and DriveTest centres during the COVID-19 outbreak, helping to promote social distancing and contain the spread of the virus.

https://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2020/03/ontario-extending-validation-periods-for-driver-vehicle-and-carrier-products-services-and-health-car.html

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Ontario Protecting Critical Front-Line Justice Services in Response to COVID-19

“The health and well-being of Ontarians is our government’s number one priority. This commitment extends across the vast network of justice partners and individuals who interact with the justice system on a daily basis. 
 
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Corporate Statement re: COVID-19

The Law Society of Ontario is supporting public health recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We have implemented a work at home plan for all employees through to Friday, April 3, at which time we will assess the situation.

We remain available to assist you as best we can. Our general phone line remains open at 416-947-3315, or you can contact us by email at lawsociety@lso.ca. Our response times may be slower than usual but we appreciate your patience.

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How COVID-19 is changing virtual medical assessments

“COVID-19 has brought this up to the surface in terms of how technology can be used for convenience, and for ensuring the insurance industry and claimants are getting the benefits they deserve,” said Gloria Rajkumar, CEO of SIMAC Medical Assessment Centre in Richmond Hill, Ont. “We’re living in a time of technology. We should be utilizing technology to the best of our advantages and for less exposure.” 
 
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What Intact is doing during COVID-19

“We are taking steps as needed to keep our people safe and make sure that everyone has all the information they need,” an Intact spokesperson wrote in an email. “We have a dedicated team monitoring this rapidly changing situation closely, as our priorities are the well-being of our employees and to be there for customers and brokers when they need us.” 
 

March 16, 2020

Tribunals Ontario’s New Policy for Hearings

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, Tribunals Ontario is taking action to safeguard the health and well-being of front-line workers and Ontarians, while continuing to ensure access to justice.

Effective today, Tribunals Ontario is implementing a new policy to postpone in-person hearings and reschedule to a later date. Where feasible, alternative hearing options such as written and telephone hearings will be considered to minimize disruption to hearings across the organization. In addition, all front-line counter services will be closed as of Monday March 16 until further notice.

https://slasto-tsapno.gov.on.ca/en/news/tribunals-ontarios-new-policy-for-hearings/

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Superior Court of Justice – Important Notices 
 
Notice to the Profession, the Public and the Media Regarding Civil and Family Proceedings | Superior Court of Justice

https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/covid-19-suspension-fam/

Canadian Process Serving Inc.
 
Ontario courts shutting down in a bid to slow coronavirus | Globalnews.ca
 
Coronavirus: Ontario’s justice system grinds to a virtual halt

https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/coronvirus-ontarios-justice-system-grinds-to-a-virtual-halt

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Provincial budget postponed; new legislation coming to help workers affected by COVID-19 measures

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips also said that instead of tabling the 2020 budget, which was set to be released next week, he will put out a fiscal update that is as “current as possible” and which includes a “realistic one-year outlook” given the present circumstances.

“In terms of a full budget, our plan would be by the fall at the latest to release that,” said Phillips. 

March 12, 2020

Plaintiffs’ odds improving in ‘David v. Goliath’ medical malpractice case

“The CMPA pays out more money than any other litigant in Canada a year on settlements because of the number of claims against doctors,” he says.
The association has more than 100,000 members — more than 40,000 of them in Ontario — and the doctors pay thousands of dollars in annual fees. It has also been funded by taxpayer money since 1987, a fact that has been criticized by lawyers and the public alike over the years
 
***
This CMPA issue was included in some of the public comments and in FAIR submission on the recent CPSO policy consultation. See:
***
Report to Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Re: Medical Liability Review

The ministry retained former Justice Stephen Goudge to conduct a  review of the medical liability system in Ontario

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/ministry/publications/reports/medical_liability/

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There’s a $40,000 deductible if you receive a pain and suffering award – What’s that you ask?

If you are hurt in a car accident and are awarded a pain and suffering payout your insurance company immediately takes $39,556.53 right off the top of the settlement. To be clear, they just take it. It’s taken before any other costs are deducted from the amount. The first deductible was set in 1993 at $10,000 with the intent of eliminating frivolous claims. In 1996 the government increased it to $15,000 and it has increased steadily ever since.
 
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Ford government’s legal aid plan will have ‘profoundly negative’ effect on low-income Ontarians, law professors say

The Ontario government’s proposed changes to the legal aid system “will have profoundly negative impacts” on the people served by the province’s community legal clinics, according to a report endorsed by more than 30 law professors from across the province.
 
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Exploring future spinal cord injury therapies

“We are the first to show that spinal cord injury results in an energy crisis that is intrinsically linked to the limited ability of damaged axons to regenerate,” said Dr Zu-Hang Sheng, study co-senior author, senior principal investigator at the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
 
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Vaughn Palmer: Cheaper, enhanced ICBC is more ‘framework’ than reality despite hype

VICTORIA — Attorney General David Eby tabled the enabling legislation Wednesday for his ambitious makeover of auto insurance, vowing it would transform the corporate culture at ICBC while delivering a 20 per cent reduction in rates.
 
 
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Take-All-Comers rule  

ID
2020-004
Type
Supervision
Sector
Auto Insurance Sector
Status
Open
Date
March 9, 2020
Comment Due Date
June 5, 2020
Have you had difficulty obtaining auto insurance?  Ontarians have the right to insurance quotes through a fair process and to receive coverage on fair terms.  If you have a good driving record and have been unfairly denied coverage, or have experienced unreasonable delay when requesting a quote, this survey is for you.
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3 FSCO hearings + at least one at LAT + 1 at Div Court = TTC pays out over $73,000 for victims legal costs + their own (unknown) costs to deny $185.00/week + medical expenses from car accident in 2012
 
TTC Insurance Company Limited v. Kolapully, 2020 ONSC 1105 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/j5ckr

[1]               TTC Insurance Company Limited seeks judicial review of an appeal decision of a Director’s Delegate of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (“FSCO”) dated February 8, 2019.  The Director’s Delegate’s decision upheld a March 9, 2018 arbitration decision awarding non-earner benefits to the Respondent, Shoba Kolapully, pursuant to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, O.Reg. 34/10 (the “SABS”).  We dismissed the application after oral argument, with these reasons to follow.

[2]               On March 6, 2012, Ms. Kolapully was struck by a TTC bus while crossing a pedestrian crossway.  Ms. Kolapully suffered significant injuries, including breaking both her legs and suffering a traumatic brain injury.  The aspect of her claims at issue on this application is her entitlement to a “non-earner benefit” under the SABS.

[3]               Pursuant to s. 12(1) of the SABS, to qualify for a non-earner benefit, the person involved in the accident must show that she suffers a complete inability to carry on a normal life as a result of and within 104 weeks after the accident.  “Complete inability to carry on a normal life” is defined in s. 3(7)(a) of the SABS as where “the person sustains an impairment that continuously prevents the person from engaging in substantially all of the activities in which the person ordinarily engaged before the accident.”

[11]           The Applicant raised additional arguments in its factum which were not emphasized in oral argument because of the focus placed on its primary argument.  In short, the Applicant argued that (a) the Arbitrator made a palpable and overriding error in her credibility assessment of Ms. Kolapully, given her obvious unreliability; and (b) the Arbitrator’s finding that the degree of impairment met the test for a non-earner benefit was not supported by the record.  There is little merit to these submissions.  As found by the Director’s Delegate, the Arbitrator made her credibility findings after considering all the points raised by the Applicant, and she was entitled to come to the finding that she did.  The Director’s Delegate concluded that the Arbitrator did compare the claimant’s life before and after the injuries, as she was required to do by Heath, and that her conclusions were grounded in the factual record before her.  These findings – which concern questions of fact and findings of credibility – were open to the Director’s Delegate and are reasonable.

12]           The application is dismissed, with costs from the Applicant to Ms. Kolapully of $25,000, inclusive, as agreed between the parties.  There shall be no costs for or against FSCO.

March 10, 2020

LSO lawyer directory, Legal Aid Ontario and more 
 
There are resources for selecting a lawyer in Canada, including the LSO directory — but with more than 50,000 lawyers in Ontario alone, it can be a daunting task. Not to mention finding the right type of lawyer — be it a real estate lawyer or insurance lawyer — and figuring out legal aid. 
 
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When can a lawyer withdraw from a case?

“Lawyers are not free to ‘desert their clients at a critical stage of a matter or at a time when withdrawal would put the client in a position of disadvantage or peril,’” wrote Myers, citing commentary in the Rules of Professional Conduct.  “I cannot think of a more critical stage than 19 days before a six-week trial in a complex matter that is a decade old.”  
 
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Burden Reduction Progress Report
 
Since its launch, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has taken significant steps towards regulatory transformation that will reduce regulatory burden and protect the public interest. 
 
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Why Aviva Canada’s financial rebound gained momentum in 2019

Aviva Canada’s ongoing profit remediation plan — which took effect after disappointing results posted in 2017 — loomed large in the company’s improved financial results in 2019, the company reported Thursday. 
 
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Aviva plc 2019 preliminary results announcement

“Our return on equity was 14.3% and operating profit increased 6% to a record £3.2 billion. Our capital position remains strong and resilient at a 206% Solvency cover ratio. The Board has increased the full year dividend by 3% to 30.9 pence per share. 
 
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Investigation exposes law-breaking drivers, dangerous intersections

At Bay and Adelaide streets, we counted 90 offences in a one hour period, that included blocking intersections and crosswalks, forcing pedestrians and cyclists into live traffic, blowing through red lights, and even driving backwards. 
 
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Is pothole damage covered by insurers?

Pothole damage is covered under optional auto insurance policies and the municipality can be held liable, but it can prove difficult to be successful in a pothole damage claim against the city. If a personal injury results, then statutory accident benefits might be available. Drivers, of course, can opt to pay for the damage themselves if less than their deductible. 
 

March 5, 2020

IBC reveals the five most common types of fraud

“When someone makes a false or exaggerated claim, it’s the honest policyholders that pay for it,” said IBC national director of investigative services Bryan Gast in the release. 
 
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Lorraine Complains: As tow truck operators go to war, who can you trust?

We get used to reflexively knowing who to call if things suddenly go awry. Police, fire, ambulance — all the emergency services that fly under our radar until we need them. Tow truck drivers are in there, part and parcel of the aftermath of any crash or breakdown on our roads. 
 
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City of Toronto and Uber facing $7-million lawsuit over fatal crash

According to the 24-page statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court on February 24, Hawkes and Traikov are each pursuing $3.5 million in damages plus expenses. The statement accuses the city of negligence, breach of statutory duty and abuse of public office. 
 
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Do police need a search warrant to obtain a vehicle’s event data recorder?

TORONTO – Police flouted a driver’s rights when they retrieved an electronic recording module from a car wreck days after a crash because they failed to get a search warrant or owner permission first, an Ontario judge has ruled. 
 
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IBC questions ICBC’s push for no-fault auto insurance

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has issued a statement that puts into question the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s (ICBC) capability to support a no-fault auto insurance system. 
 
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Near-billion-dollar lawsuit claims ICBC illegally paid victims’ accident benefits to province

B.C.’s public insurer and the provincial government are facing a potential class action lawsuit that could see nearly $1 billion returned to ratepayers and accident victims. 
 
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‘Thanks for ripping me off’: B.C. government, ICBC hit with $900M proposed class action lawsuit

A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed in B.C. Supreme court which, if successful, could mean every provincially-insured driver and injured crash victim in British Columbia will be in line for a share of almost $1 billion.  
 
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The province is rolling out a new program – the first of its kind in Canada – designed to deliver free cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), online, by phone and in person to individuals, families and youth age 10 and up, depending on their need. 
 
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The field of brain-machine interfaces has taken off in recent years, with Silicon Valley leaders joining the fray. Companies such as Facebook and Elon Musk’s Neuralink envision we will one day be able to use this type of technology to control our laptops and smartphones with our thoughts. 
 
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Canadian Taxi Association – Seniors, disabled will be impacted as insurance crisis takes up to 1000 taxis off the road

OTTAWA, March 4, 2020 /CNW/ – Senior citizens and others who rely upon Accessible taxis are at risk of losing this service as Ontario’s taxi industry is facing a crisis in insurance coverage. 
 
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A.K. v Allstate Insurance2020 CanLII 14418 (ON LAT), <http://canlii.ca/t/j5f8n  

 
[2]        The applicant was involved in a motor vehicle accident on July 16, 2010.  She was the belted driver of a vehicle that struck the median, spun out of control, struck another vehicle and came to a rest after hitting the guardrail.  The applicant applied for and received benefits pursuant to the Schedule.  She then applied to the respondent for a determination that her accident-related injuries resulted in an impairment that met the statutory threshold for a catastrophic impairment.  The respondent denied her application: in its view, the applicant did not sustain a catastrophic impairment.  In response, the applicant filed an application with the Licence Appeal Tribunal – Automobile Accident Benefits Service (the “Tribunal”) to resolve the dispute.
 
ISSUE IN DISPUTE
[3]        Did the applicant sustain a catastrophic impairment within the meaning of the Schedule as a result of the accident?
 
RESULT
[4]        Based on the totality of the evidence before me, I find that the applicant has sustained a catastrophic impairment within the meaning of the Schedule as a result of the accident.
 
[43]        Dr. Chandrasena, psychiatrist, completed a psychiatric insurer’s examination on July 19, 2017 as part of a multidisciplinary approach that also included an Occupational Therapy In-Home Examination, an Orthopaedic Examination and an Executive Summary.  
 
[56]        I also prefer the evidence of Dr. Becker to that of Dr. Chandrasena. Dr. Becker conduced a thorough and comprehensive review and analysis of the applicant’s mental/behaviour disorder, the impact of the mental or behavioural disorder on the applicant’s life and the resulting level of impairment in view of the impact of the mental or behavioural disorder.  Dr. Chandrasena’s analysis, on the other hand, was cursory in nature and failed to provide an adequate explanation as to how he reached his conclusion that the applicant suffered a class 2 “Mild” impairment in the Adaptation domain as set out in the Guides.  I acknowledge that it is possible that the applicant improved in the time between Dr. Becker’s evaluation and that of Dr. Chandrasena’s. However, I find that Dr. Chandrasena did not provide convincing evidence of this.
 
[57]        Dr. Chandrasena’s draft report dated July 30, 2017 also raises some concerns about his ultimate finding that the applicant sustained a class 2 “Mild” impairment in the Adaptation domain as set out in the Guides. Dr. Chandrasena, in his draft report, indicates that the applicant suffered a class 3 “Moderate” and class 4 “Marked” impairment in the Adaptation domain. Even though those impairment levels were circled by Dr. Chandrasena in his draft report, he testified that he cannot find any evidence to suggest that the applicant is markedly impaired.  He continued to explain that he circled the moderate and marked impairment levels in his draft report as part of a training exercise for the upcoming changes in the legislation. Dr. Chandrasena also went on to explain that the evidence suggests that the applicant has been able to adapt to her circumstances. I do not share this opinion and find Dr. Chandrasena’s explanation regarding his draft report to be troubling. 
 
[58]        Again, the applicant’s mental or behavioural disorders undermine her ability to cope and adjust, leading to an increased perception of pain and increased functional decompensation, resulting in a more pronounced level of disability.  I find that the applicant’s functioning in the area of adaptation has been significantly impeded and that she has been unable to return to the independence she enjoyed before the accident, making it difficult for her to maintain her activities of daily living, continuing social relationships, and completing tasks.  Dr. Chandrasena’s opinion does not persuade me to discount this finding.
 
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Aviva General Insurance v. Khan, 2020 ONSC 1290 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/j5m3q 
 

[1]               The Appellant Insurer appeals from a decision of the Licence Appeal Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) ordering the Appellant to pay for medical expenses of the Respondent (also referred to as the “Insured”) pursuant to ss.14-15 of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (“SABS”).

[2]               Section 11(6) of the Licence Appeal Tribunal Act provides that appeals from the Tribunal may be made to the Divisional Court, but on a question of law only.

[3]               Applying Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov2019 SCC 65, the standard of review to be applied on this appeal, provided there is a question of law, is correctness. 

[7]               In our view, reading para. 46 as a whole, s. 3(8) is being used by the Tribunal as an alternate basis for ordering the Insurer to pay the expenses in question. The primary basis for making the order was the Tribunal’s view that the expenses had actually been incurred by the Insured within the meaning of s. 3(7) of SABS. This is clear from the first sentence of para. 46, which reads. “While I am mindful that it is the [Insured’s] onus to prove her case, I am not persuaded by the [Insurer’s] suggestion that the Treatment Plan has not been incurred.” In other words, the Tribunal was of the view that the expenses in question had been incurred. Furthermore, there was an evidentiary basis for him to make this finding, including the accounts from the Treatment Provider detailing the services it had provided (which included the disputed services) and the evidence of the Insured that she had had the treatments in question and owed money to the Treatment Provider for those expenses. We also pause to note that to the extent that there may be a dispute about whether an expense was actually “incurred” within the meaning of s. 3(7) of SABS, that is a question of fact, not a question of law.

[8]               For these reasons the appeal is dismissed.

March 3, 2020

A look at Ontario’s auto insurance system

Many drivers don’t know the full details of their auto insurance coverage or how it works until they have an accident. 
 
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Think you’re paying too much for Auto Insurance in Ontario?

The report by York University Schulich School of Business Professor Dr. Fred Lazar reveals that Ontario drivers continue to pay excessive auto insurance premiums in Ontario while insurers rack up billion dollar profits. 
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“The IBC represents private insurers and of course they want a slice of the pie,” Antweiler.

“Private companies want to pick up good drivers and push bad drivers into their more expensive default systems.”

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Stephen Wiseman: A doctor’s take on no-fault insurance

By now, everyone has heard of the NDP’s about-face on what it describes as the wonderful new world of ICBC no-fault insurance. Increased benefits and decreased premiums for all, says Premier John Horgan, affirming the change as almost “too good to be true.” 
 
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Tribunal Confirms that “Boilerplate” Reasons for Insurer’s Examinations Not Sufficient

Our client had applied for catastrophic impairment determination, which was denied by Aviva Insurance. Aviva scheduled insurer’s examinations, one of which was an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) assessment. This assessment report was received by the insurer on December 22, 2016. The day prior to that, a new Assessment of Attendant Care Needs (Form 1) was completed on the client’s behalf. Aviva denied the amount of attendant care and scheduled insurer’s examinations to determine the attendant care amount with an occupational therapist and the same otolaryngologist that the insurer had retained to complete the catastrophic assessment.

 
Applicant vs. Aviva General Insurance, 2020 CanLII 14483 (ON LAT), <http://canlii.ca/t/j5fb1
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Statutory Deductibles in Motor Vehicle Cases Explained

On January 1st of each new year, while the rest of us are making New Year’s resolutions and setting (sometime lofty) goals, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA, formerly the Financial Services Commission of Ontario) publishes its updated list of statutory deductibles and the monetary thresholds which negatively impact survivors of auto accidents.   
 
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Another Privacy Tort: Publicity Placing the Plaintiff in a False Light

For almost twelve years, Ontario courts have recognized torts for different types of invasion into a person’s privacy. Recently, a fourth privacy tort was adopted by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in a family law case. As a result of Justice Kristjanson’s ruling in the case of Yenovkian v Gulian, 2019 ONSC 7279, Ontario plaintiffs are now able to advance claims for the tort of publicity which places the plaintiff in a false light. 
 
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Toronto judge slams Canadian Tire after employee tells court he won’t be paid on jury duty

During recent jury selection for a murder trial in downtown Toronto’s Superior Court, several prospective jurors said their employers had told them they would not be paid or they would receive only partial pay while performing their civic duty. 
 
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Province’s new home care legislation will require more PSWs: Home Care Ontario CEO

Ontario will need more personal support workers than it has now if plans to revamp home care medical services are to succeed, says Home Care Ontario chief executive officer Sue VanderBent. 
 
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Province’s employment plans being shipped south slammed by Niagara MPP

A low-income advocacy group located in Maine says thousands of families in the state lost their government support after a New York City-based multinational corporation was brought in to run the state’s welfare and employment services.