Saying No to No-Fault

Jo-Anne Stark, CBABC Director of Advocacy

Saying No to No-Fault

On February 6, 2020, the government and ICBC introduced a significant change to vehicle insurance in British Columbia, referred to as “Enhanced Care Coverage.” This plan was introduced to the legislature in Bill 11 on March 4, 2020. It provides benefits to all those injured in a vehicle accident regardless of fault, eliminates compensation for the accident’s impact on an injured person’s life, and leaves all decision about the nature of the injury, loss of income, and medical care treatment in the hands of ICBC claims adjusters. Complaints will go to a Fairness Office established by ICBC, while appeals go to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”).

Bill 9 was introduced on February 24, 2020 to amend the Evidence Act, as part of the government’s plan to limit the number of expert reports allowed for a claim, as well as the cost of each report and total amount of allowable disbursements in personal injury awards.

Unlike other major changes in British Columbia such as the introduction of the Family Law Act, the Provincial Government
developed this major policy change and Evidence Act amendments without any consultation with CBABC members, or even the public itself. Particulars will be contained within regulations expected to be introduced in the fall of 2020.

CBABC is opposed to this no-fault insurance plan as it removes the right of injured people to have claims assessed based on their personal situation and makes it difficult for British Columbians to access the help of a lawyer. Studies show that it also creates more bureaucracy, inefficiencies and increases accident fatalities. It also creates a barrier for accident victims who are unable to afford the cost of expert reports over and above the limitations imposed in the amendments, making it difficult for low to middle class plaintiffs to prove the extent of their claim. The government’s position is that it is necessary to help manage the financial problems experienced by ICBC, and it will result in a reduction of insurance premiums paid by drivers as much as $400 annually.

Our advocacy plan includes a thorough review of the government’s proposed changes to the Evidence Act and the vehicle insurance plan in collaboration with the Auto Insurance Working Group and other committees in the coming weeks. CBABC will develop a formal submission to the Attorney General to influence the implementation. Plans are underway to meet with key government officials to communicate our position to BC’s lawmakers and to the Attorney General.

To follow what CBABC is doing, read News and Jobs, the President’s Message, and see CBABC in the Media.