The Ontario Government, in their quest to reduce automobile
insurance premiums, announced substantive and procedural changes to
the accident benefits world that will be taking effect soon. This
article deals with the procedural aspects of the changes.
These changes are the most fundamental changes to accident
benefits ("AB"), since the creation of accident benefits.
Gone is FSCO, which for years has provided dispute resolution
services for accident benefit disputes. In its place, dispute
resolution for AB disputes now falls within the umbrella of the
Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals of Ontario
("SLASTO"), a cluster of administrative tribunals under
which the Licensing Appeals Tribunal ("LAT") is housed.
The LAT will be the new home for what is supposed to be a
streamlined dispute resolution system.
The most contentious aspect of these changes is the loss of the
right to sue in the Superior Court of Justice for AB disputes.
Instead, all AB disputes must go to LAT (new applications are being
accepted as of April 1, 2016 - ). Applications received at FSCO by
March 31st will still proceed through the old protocol. This change
leaves open important questions such as what happens to bad faith
claims (which must still be brought in a Superior Court action) and
what happens if a claimant wants to have their AB claim and tort
claim heard together.
Moving to a new system also means getting rid of the mediation
pre-requisite. Accordingly, after the denial of a benefit, a
claimant can start an Arbitration. Once an arbitration process is
started, the LAT has its own rules of practice - the Dispute
Resolution Practice Code is gone. These Rules of Practice call
for a case conference to happen. At this Case Conference,
production issues are decided, and the type of hearing to be used
is decided. It is within the jurisdiction of the Arbitrator to
decide, and there are three types: a written "hearing", a
video conference hearing, and a live, in-person hearing. It is also
a time where settlement can be gauged.
With a new system and new rules of practice to guide claims,
tactical considerations will have to adapted - and new tactics and
Please stay tuned to our blog for further updates, and if
something about the new changes peaks your interest, and you would
like us to blog about it, please send an email - it would be great
to hear from you!
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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