Accident Benefits In Ontario: What Happened To The Grand Bargain?

By Pace Law | April 8, 2013

 

Al Pace – Pace Law Firm: I’m very pleased to take this opportunity, albeit belatedly, to participate in this brave, new social media world. This is my inaugural step into it to discuss some topics and developments I have observed in my now more than 30 year involvement with motor vehicle accident law and immigration practice.

I welcome your comments and hope to inspire not only some dialogue but to outline some issues that should be of importance for consideration by all Ontarians in informing our elected governments about the regulatory framework in which our firm operates. Our electorate needs a set of perspectives on these issues that go beyond what massive insurance industry lobbying efforts provide. I hope to add something worthwhile to that range of perspectives.

This insurance industry…has relentlessly (and
successfully) worked to whittle away the benefits in a system that it
so enthusiastically championed.

The ‘80’s was a time of pronounced ‘no-fault mania’ both in Canada and the U.S. For a time, Ontario flirted with an entirely government run and funded insurance program. Numerous jurisdictions implemented elaborate schemes of insurance regulation with the primary feature that individuals injured through no fault of their own lost centuries-old civil rights to sue for their injuries, health and economic costs. In 1990, Ontario followed suit.

The “grand bargain” (for victims) was supposed to be ready access to medical, rehabilitation and income replacement benefits, as well as recovery of out-of-pocket expenses, without resort to formal court proceedings and the need of a lawyer to represent their interests. That was the theory, anyway. Things have not worked out that way, particularly as regards both the ease of access and the range of benefits available.

This insurance industry, having been successful in persuading the legislature to limit the right to sue for damages, has relentlessly (and successfully) worked to whittle away the benefits in a system that it so enthusiastically championed. There have been numerous refinements and revisions, all resulting in less for injured parties, except for the difficulty in accessing what is available. Certainly, anyone trying to navigate the system without capable, specialized legal representation, soon finds out how far from “ready” and “available” benefits truly are.

I hope you’ll join me for future installments concerning the evolving situation of motor vehicle law in Ontario. It’s in your interest to find out at some time before you find yourself rudely confronted with the realities when you or your loved one is in need.

Al Pace is the founder of Pace Law Firm.