What Are Non-Earner Benefits?

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Non-earner benefits are one of the accident benefits included in a standard automobile insurance policy in Ontario.
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Non-earner benefits are one of the accident benefits included in a standard automobile insurance policy in Ontario.

Employed adults injured in a motor vehicle accident can apply for income replacement benefits, a benefit included in their automobile insurance policy. Historically, those who cannot qualify for income replacement benefits such as students, unemployed, and retired individuals can apply for non-earner benefits if they suffer from “a complete inability to carry on a normal life” as a result of injuries sustained in a collision.

Individuals 18 years of age and over who are entitled to the benefit receive $185 per week. The benefit is available for up to 104 weeks (2 years) after the accident. There is a waiting period of four weeks post-accident.

Until recently, the interpretation of the legislation was that children were not entitled to non-earner benefits unless they turned 18 years old within 104 weeks (2 years) after the collision. In 2023 this interpretation changed with DC v TD Insurance Meloche Monnex. In this case, the Licence Appeal Tribunal found that minors who meet the test for non-earner benefits can qualify for non-earner benefits, payable upon reaching 18 years of age.

The “Complete Inability” test

To qualify for non-earner benefits, the individual must suffer a complete inability to engage in substantially all activities in which they would ordinarily engage. In Heath v Economical Mutual Insurance Company, the Ontario Court of Appeal provided guidance on applying this legal test:

The starting point of the analysis is to compare the individual's activities before and after the accident. However, the comparison should not be a snapshot of an individual's life immediately before the accident; it should be more comprehensive. All pre-accident activities in which the individual ordinarily engaged should be considered. However, activities more important to the individual should carry more weight in the analysis. It is also insufficient to show changes in an individual's post-accident life. It is necessary to show that those changes amounted to the individual being continuously prevented from engaging in substantially all of their pre-accident activities. The quality of performance of the activity post-accident must be considered. Simply going through the motions of an activity cannot be viewed as “engaging in” an activity. Additionally, the analysis should consider the degree of pain experienced during or after activities as pain might prevent an individual from engaging in activities.


If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario, you may qualify for non-earner benefits.

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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