Without any consultation, communication, notice or debate, your very own Ontario Government has changed how the laws surrounding no fault accident benefits work yet again! No formal announcment was made. Simply a release of the legislation.
In a normal democracy, when laws or amendments to laws are passed, they are first debated, studied, and put to a panel of experts and to the public to get their feedback. The voting public is put on notice of the proposed law or changes and a debate/discussion ensues. It’s all nice and out in the open for people to debate and to better understand.
Things aren’t supposed to be slipped under the carpet without you knowing. Heck: even the Harper Conservatives abide by these simple principals. It’s just good public relations.
But NOT your Ontario Government. Particularly when it comes to car insurance. Ontario’s government (no matter who’s in power) always likes to sneak things in when we don’t expect it. No vote. No debate. No discussion. Just put it in there just like how it’s was done in Communist Russia, and in today’s China and North Korea.
Today, the Ontario Government RELEASED Ontario Regulation 347/13. It comes in to force on February 1, 2014 and will be printied in the January 2014 Ontario Gazette. That means that only personal injury lawyers and people in the insurance industry know about the changes right now. It will become more common knowledge come the new year after it’s published in the Ontario Gazette.
You’ve never head of the Ontario Gazette? Don’t worry about it. Neither had I until I went to law school. I suppose it’s an elitist publiciation which nobody except lawyers, law students and policiticans read. So, there’s a very good chance that if you don’t read this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post, you won’t know or understand how car accident law has changed yet again.
Why should you care about O. Reg 347/13? Read on and find out!
If you own, operate or are a passenger in a car, then O.Reg 347/13 affects you. Here is a link to the regulation, which the Ontario Government has NOT even published yet in its Gazette yet. Only lawyers and people who work in the insurance industry have seen it beacuse they’re the only ones “in the know“.
After a car accident, you’re entitled to claim no fault accident benefits. That’s why you pay all that money for car insurance. That’s why your premiums are so high.
Without boring you with the legal details, the changes to the act will do the following:
1. Make it MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO CLAIM ATTENDANT CARE BENEFITS. The change has to deal with the definition of what is an incurred expense for the purpose of claiming a $1,500/month attendant care benefit. Now, if you can’t pay your attendant real money; and/or the attendant doesn’t quit their paying job, then no benefit will have to be paid. This benefit is now virtually impossible for a regular 9-5ver to claim or receive.
2. Make it easier for insurance companies to cap your medical and rehabilitative benefits (physio, chiro, OT services, massage, gym, accupuncture, psychological therapy) at just $3,500 instead of $50,000. There used to be an exception that an aggravation of a pre-exisiting injury would exempt you from the Minor Injury Guideline. This exemption is now gone. The new law basically expands to reach of the Minor Injury Guideline such that EVERY car accident (with the exception of a broken bone) can now be considered MINOR and be capped at $3,500.
3. Makes it easier for insurance companies to deny your income replacement benefit, caregiver benefit or non-earner benefits on account of a change of circumstances. No more flexibility to change your election on account of a change on your life style or circumstances. Get pregnant, quit your job and have to stay at home following an accident? Too bad. You can’t collect an income replacement benefit then claim a care giver benefit following your accident. The law has just become that much more rigid.
These changes to the law are completely one sided in favour of insurers. They will do NOTHING to help innocent accident victims like YOU or your family members to get the assistance they need following an accident.
I guarantee that these changes will NOT keep your premiums down. I guarantee that in spite of these one sided changes in favour of deep pocketed insurers, your insurance premiums will continue to rise.
Do you think that the general public/general electorate had any part in making these changes to the Insurance Act? I highly doubt it.
If 10 people who aren’t lawyers, and aren’t connected to the insurance industry email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me that they personally lobbied their local MPP for these changes because they were upset by the state of the current Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), I will eat my words.
I got news for you. I represent normal people like you and me. When I tell them about the Insurance Act, the SABS, and that we have a no fault system of accident benefits in place, they look at my like I’m speaking in a foreign tongue. So how on earth does an electorate that is clueless about how insurance law works; gets the urge to approach the government to have said laws changed!?!?!?
It’s because the electorate did NOT approach our MPPs. Rather, the Insurance Industry’s PAID LOBBYISTS got these changes. How much money do you think it cost to make these changes? How many perks/freebies do you think Insurance Industry lobbyists handed out to MPPs to actually think about Insurance Law instead of Ontario’s real problems.
I travel across the Province as my job. I bet you that I visit just as many towns/cities in Ontario as Kathleen Wynne (Yesterday I was in Omeenee ON, just outside of Peterborough. Today I was in Bowmanville, followed by Whitby. Tomorrow I will be in London representing a client from Alvinston, which is just outside of Sarnia). When was the last time Premier Wynne was in any of these places?
The top concern of Ontarians is NOT Insurance Law. It’s Jobs Jobs and Jobs! That’s a concern from Timmins to Toronto. I see it every day.
London lost 550 jobs with the closure of the Kellogs plant announced 2 weeks ago. Leamington is losing another 750 jobs with the closure of the Heinz cannery. The Sweet Lemon Bakery on York Street in London is closing its doors. Oh yeah: there was also a massive Ontario gas plant scandall that cost tax payers a few hundred million or billion dollars as well.
You would think that our government would focus on these real problems instead of focusing on car insurance. But, no. They are PAWNS to insurers. Yep. I said it.
Reminder to Ontario Liberals: people vote. Not insurance companies. Last time I checked, the Insurance Bureau of Canada did not hold a vote. Neither does Aviva, Intact, State Farm, Co-Operators, TD Meloche Monnex or Wawanesa Insurance. People vote. Not insurers. Example of how money corrupts politics? Perhaps. But I can think of other examples.
I have nothing futher to add. Just very disappointed that the “peoples‘” government would go ahead and again screw the people, just as they’ve done time and time again. I will remember this. Just like I’m going to remember the gas plant scandal, the email scandal, the ORNGE scandal, the Ontario Power Generation scandal, the Teachers Strike, Dalton McGinty’s resignation when he knew things weren’t working out, and the list goes on. No flashy ads of Kathlynne Wynn running down a quaint country road are going to turn me after this one. Just disgusted.
One more thing: The TTC doesn’t work. Fix it.