Significant changes are coming to the standard automobile policy
in Prince Edward Island ("PEI"), including increases to
the accident benefits available under Section B and an increase to
the so-called "cap" for minor personal injury.
In the fall 2013 sitting of the provincial legislature, the
government introduced a bill that would make significant changes to
PEI's accident benefits, cap and definition of "minor
personal injury", with some of these changes being consistent
with what has been done in Nova Scotia and others being consistent
with prior changes in New Brunswick.
The bill passed first reading in November 2013, and is expected
to be on the government's agenda for the spring 2014 sitting of
the legislature. Following is an overview of the proposed changes
put forth in the draft bill:
1. Increase in No-Fault Accident Benefits
The government has proposed an increase in no-fault accident
benefits available under the PEI standard auto policy (i.e. Section
B benefits). The proposed increases are significant, and would
apply to motor vehicle liability policies issued or renewed on or
after April 1, 2014:
2. Increase in the "Cap" for Minor Personal
The government recommends an increase to the cap for minor
personal injuries. If passed, the cap on non-pecuniary general
damages for motor vehicle accidents occurring on or after April 1,
2014 would increase to $7,500 – up from the current amount of
$2,500. The existing cap of $2,500 would continue to apply to
accidents occurring prior to April 1, 2014.
The draft bill proposes the cap be indexed cumulatively in
January of each year, beginning in 2016. If passed, the maximum
recoverable amount will be the amount in place on the date of the
3. Changes to the Definition of "Minor Personal
The draft bill not only increases the amount of the cap, but
also seeks to amend the definition of "minor personal
injury" to mirror the definition in Nova Scotia. The proposed
definition will restrict "minor personal injuries" to
sprains, strains or whiplash-associated disorders that do not
result in a serious impairment – a significantly more narrow
definition than currently exists in PEI.
What this means for you
Some or all of these amendments could be passed as law during
the spring 2014 sitting of the legislature. The result will be
greater benefits for accidents occurring on or after April 1, 2014,
as well as new strategic considerations in the defence of
auto-related personal injury claims in PEI.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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