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Pace Law

FSCO Finally Doing Something About Meditation Backlog

March 15, 2013

Toronto Personal Injury Lawyer Alex Voudouris: I read with interest this piece from Canadian Underwriter:

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario is reaching the midway point of a six-month pilot aimed at streamlining part of its mediation process and saving mediators’ time.

Effective Jan. 2, the pilot program allows the parties involved in mediation who have already been assigned mediation dates, or who have files more than 50 days old, to go through one e-mail address to request rescheduling or adjournment.

“We introduced this pilot project to ensure primarily that we could continue to clear the backlog as quickly as possible while still offering mediation within the required 60 day timeline,” said Kristen Rose, a spokesperson for FSCO.

If you have been reading my bulletins, you’ll know that I have been demanding change on the mediation backlog issue for a long time.

It is heartening to know that after years of intolerable backlogs that only helped insurers and delayed the delivery of any form of justice to the insured, that FSCO is finally doing something.

Of course, FSCO first tried to ignore the issue. Then they resisted change by opposing every attempt to make them comply with the clear and unequivocal legislative requirement that mediations must take place within 60 days of the Application for Mediation. Then they ignored Arbitrator Rogers’ decision in Leone and State Farm Insurance, as well as Director’s Delegate Blackman’s decision in the same case on appeal – both of which I successfully argued.

Accordingly, only after more delay and more justice denied, did FSCO finally change its way once the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Cornie vs. State Farm Insurance essentially upheld Leone and other similar decisions.

So I wish FSCO well. I hope that in the future, they will listen more carefully to those of us who have been litigating Accident Benefit claims since their inception more than 20 years ago.

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