StatsCanada Earnings Data Ruled Admissible in Injury Trial Without Economist or Other Introductory Witness

Helpful reasons for judgement were recently shared with me finding that StatsCan evidence about wages were admissible in a personal injury trial even without them being incorporated in an economists report or otherwise being introduced by a witness.

In the recent case (Reddy v. Enokson) the Plaintiff was seeking damages following injuries in a vehicle collision.  In the course of the trial the Plaintiff sought to introduce data from StatsCan “concerning the average hourly wage rate of persons 15 years and over in Canada“.   The Defendant objected arguing “these statistics ought not to replace a proper expert’s opinion. ”

Mr. Justice Blok found the evidence admissible as a public document meeting the admissibility provisions of s. 29 of BC’s Evidence Act.

In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:

[6] In brief, defendant’s counsel says these statistics ought not to replace a proper expert’s opinion.

[7] Both plaintiff and defendant referred to Smith v. Fremlin, 2014 BCCA 253 [Smith], a case which involved a female plaintiff intending to pursue a career in law. There evidently was an economist in that case who prepared a report using statistical income data for female lawyers in BC. Objection was taken on the basis that this was something of a broad category, as there are many different roles that lawyers have, and different locations within British Columbia where lawyers practice, as well as other differences that would make the statistics in question inaccurate.

[8] Both counsel referred to para. 25 of Smith, in which the Court of Appeal said:
[25] Evidence of the earnings of the class of workers to which the plaintiff belongs is clearly relevant to the assessment of a loss of earning capacity. At some point, the evidence may be so general or vague as to be of little assistance but, in my view, that cannot be said of the statistical evidence used in this case. Evidence of the lifetime earning capacity of female lawyers in British Columbia, according to Mr. Wickson’s testimony in cross-examination, was the most specific data available. No further breakdown of incomes of female lawyers in this province by areas of practice is available. The Wickson report therefore was the best available evidence of what has been recognized as the starting point of the assessment of the loss of income earning capacity. It was properly admitted by the judge.

[9] Defence counsel has seized upon the phrase in that quote which reads “at some point, the evidence may be so general or vague as to be of little assistance”, saying that this case has crossed that line. The plaintiff argues that the statistical information, by necessity, has to be general because this plaintiff is young and was uncertain about what she wanted to do. He says that it may have limited weight, but it still meets the test for admissibility.

[10] Additional context on this application is the fact that there is statistical information being admitted without objection about the hourly rates of clinical counsellors in Canada broken down by various provinces. It is the evidence of the plaintiff that she is currently pursuing some training as a clinical counsellor. The plaintiff, nonetheless, says that the contested statistics may still be important to know in terms of alternative careers should this one not pan out.

[11] To be very frank, I suspect that the information in question will achieve at most a very limited usefulness or weight. It is very broad, and given that these are national figures, not even British Columbia figures, there are many reasons to question the weight that could be put on them. However, I am not able to say at this stage, at least, that these figures might not be of some assistance and have at least some weight, so as to surmount the relatively low bar of relevance.

[12] Accordingly, I conclude that this document ought to be admitted.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Blok, Reddy v. Enokson, Section 29 Evidence Act, Statistics, Statistics Canada, StatsCan

Road tests to expand July 8 with phased approach

Road tests to expand July 8 with phased approach

ICBC is continuing to expand its road testing by opening it up to all customers through a phased approach. This builds upon the successful reopening of commercial vehicle road tests in June, in line with B.C.’s Restart Plan.

ICBC’s road test plan helps British Columbians get the services they need while ensuring important health and safety protocols can be implemented, monitored and maintained as testing increases.

Timeline

The following plan is contingent on the state of the pandemic in the province and may be adjusted based on the need to ensure the ongoing health and safety of both customers and staff. Specifically, the ongoing availability of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is a key factor that ICBC is monitoring at this time.

  • Motorcycle road tests: available as of July 8; customers may book online.

  • Recreational Trailer (Class 4 and 5 endorsement) road tests: available as of July 8; customers may call ICBC (1-800-950-1498) to book an appointment.

  • Priority testing for essential health care workers and first responders who require a licence for work; workers may call ICBC today (1-800-950-1498) to book. Information will be requested to establish eligibility.

  • Private Passenger Vehicle (Class 5 and 7) road tests:

    • Priority testing for customers with tests cancelled between March 17 and March 30; ICBC will start calling customers this week to rebook; road tests to begin July 20.

    • Following this first grouping, ICBC will then be prioritizing the re-booking of customers who had road tests cancelled after March 30. It is expected that these customers will be able to re-book through the month of August.

    • More details on the timing for new road test bookings will be provided in the following weeks.

  • Enhanced Road Assessments: ICBC will call to rebook customers whose assessments were cancelled between March 17 and March 30. All other customers requiring a medical fitness assessment will receive a letter from RoadSafetyBC.

  • Commercial road tests (Class 1 – 4), motorcycle skills tests, and knowledge tests are available for booking.

  • Other services: ICBC’s offices have remained open during the pandemic while also offering customers the option to renew a 90-day temporary driver’s licence by phone. To manage the demand and volume of customers in an office at any given time, ICBC is also looking to move to an appointment system for in-office visits, including driver licence renewals. More information will be provided when plans are finalized.

What to Expect

  • Making an appointment: Due to the expected high volume of calls, we ask for customers’ patience during this time. Customers whose appointment was cancelled between March 17 and March 30 will not need to call – ICBC will call affected customers. For all other customers, they are strongly encouraged to book online if the option is available for their test type.

  • Before the appointment: Customers are asked to review the vehicle safety checklist and ensure that the interior of their vehicle is clean.

  • Upon arrival: Customers are asked to arrive on-time with the required identification. They will be asked a series of health screening questions and provided a mask that must be worn for the duration of the road test.

    Due to the nature of the motorcycle road test, riders will not be provided a mask, but will be required to wear a safety vest provided by ICBC, which will be sanitized before each use.

  • Testing: Driver examiners will continue to conduct road tests from inside the customer’s vehicle to ensure the examiner is able to fully assess the customer’s driving skills and to take control of the vehicle in the event of an emergency. Driver examiners will wear appropriate PPE during the test.

    For motorcycle road tests, the testing environment remains unchanged. The examiner rides behind the rider in a car, speaking to the rider by two-way radio.

For more information on ICBC’s services during the pandemic, visit: https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/contact-us/Pages/covid-19.aspx

IBC – ICBC No-Fault Design will Further Limit Consumer Choice

VANCOUVER, BC, July 7, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) published an open letter to British Columbia Premier John Horgan, outlining the auto insurance industry’s concern with Bill 11 – Attorney General Statues (Vehicle Insurance) Amendment Act, 2020. IBC also provided a list of legislative amendments to the government that, if implemented, would give consumers more choice and help to lower auto insurance rates in the province.

As currently designed, Bill 11 will further limit consumer choice, create new barriers to stifle the limited competition that currently exists in BC’s optional auto insurance market, and risks driving other insurers out of BC’s optional auto insurance market entirely.

As part of the move to a no-fault system, Bill 11 creates a new mandatory Basic Vehicle Damage coverage that is only available through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). This product will provide coverage for vehicle replacement and repair when a driver is not responsible for an accident. Today, these repairs can be covered by the third-party liability insurance of the driver responsible for an accident, which is open to choice and competition above ICBC’s basic limits.

“Bill 11 will reduce what little choice drivers have in BC’s optional auto insurance market,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “There is no rationale for this expansion of ICBC’s monopoly over vehicle damage insurance. 

A better, more affordable auto insurance system would allow drivers to purchase this coverage from any insurer they choose.”

IBC has suggested a number of amendments to Bill 11 that would provide consumers with choice in vehicle damage coverage – whether that coverage is mandatory or optional. This would make BC similar to the no-fault system in Quebec, where injury coverages are provided by the government insurer and vehicle damage coverages are provided by private insurers. Total premiums in Quebec (including the government’s no-fault coverage) are $717 on average1, less than half the $1,500 that ICBC projects its no-fault insurance will cost.

If enacted, IBC’s suggested amendments would create a more competitive market for vehicle damage coverage and, most importantly, would improve the affordability of this coverage over the long term. This would be particularly true if the government were to also remove the existing barriers to choice and competition in BC and provide all insurers with equal access to driver abstracts and provincial claims information.

“Under ICBC’s monopoly, British Columbians pay more for auto insurance than anyone else in Canada,” noted Sutherland. “Canada’s private insurers want to help lower premiums in the province and are committed to working with the government to create a system that works for everyone.”

QUICK FACTS:

  • ICBC basic insurance currently provides coverage for $200,000 in third-party liability, accident benefits and uninsured motorist protection. Optional insurance provides excess third-party liability (above $200,000), as well as comprehensive and collision insurance.
  • Today, vehicle damage claims are paid from the third-party liability coverage of the driver responsible for the crash. Bill 11’s Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage will move this coverage under ICBC’s basic policy and cover repairs when the driver is not at fault.
  • Removing excess third-party liability coverage under no-fault will shrink the optional insurance market by up to 30%.
  • Last year, BC drivers spent $2.9 billion on optional insurance, with $300 million of that being spent on policies with private insurers.
  • In Quebec (a no-fault insurance province), drivers have full choice in who they purchase their vehicle damage coverage from – both mandatory and optional. Total annual auto insurance premiums (including the government’s no-fault coverage) in that province are $717 on average, less than half the projected cost of ICBC’s no-fault insurance ($1,500).

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @IBC_Pacific or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

__________________________________

1 2018, the most recent full-year available

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

www.ibc.ca

CounterAttack roadchecks targeting impaired drivers on now

CounterAttack roadchecks targeting impaired drivers on now

Although COVID-19 has changed many things, it hasn’t changed the law – if you plan to drink, don’t drive. Police will be setting up CounterAttack roadchecks across the province while taking necessary pandemic-related safety precautions to get impaired drivers off our roads.

With many restaurants and pubs reopening and Canada Day this week, ICBC, police and the B.C. government are urging drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home if your activities involve alcohol.

Every year, on average, 68 people are killed as a result of impaired driving, with 40 per cent of those deaths happening in the summer.*

During the pandemic, alcohol consumption increased as more people were drinking at home. To encourage physical distancing and outdoor socialization, some municipalities are allowing alcohol consumption in parks and at beaches. Whether you’re drinking at home or out with friends, please be responsible and don’t drive.

While much progress has been made, impaired driving remains the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and in the top three contributing factors for fatal crashes in B.C.

If you’re hosting a celebration this summer (remember to keep it within Provincial Health Officer guidelines) and plan to serve alcohol, get an ICBC special event permit kit for free on icbc.com. It’s also available when you apply for an event liquor permit at BCLiquorStores.com. The kits include items to encourage designated drivers to stay sober and for guests to find a safe ride home.

ICBC supports two impaired driving education campaigns every year. Learn more facts and tips in ICBC’s infographic.

Quotes:

Bowinn Ma, MLA North Vancouver-Lonsdale

“We’ve made significant progress in making our streets safer from impaired driving over the past forty years, but too many people are still losing their lives. CounterAttack remains a key part of our provincial enforcement strategy to reduce crashes involving alcohol and drugs, and make our roads safer for British Columbians.”

Superintendent Holly Turton, Vice-Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Summer is here and so are Summer CounterAttack campaigns, so more police will be on B.C. roads checking for impaired drivers. If your plan includes consuming alcohol or cannabis, plan ahead: get a ride home with a friend, hail a taxi, or take the bus. There is no excuse – including COVID-19 – for driving under the influence, and our priority is to prevent and catch drivers who put themselves and their community in danger. Injuries and deaths from impaired driving are completely preventable, and we all have a responsibility to do the right thing.”

Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC President & CEO

“When you drink and drive, you not only risk your life but those of others on the road. We all need to do our part to prevent crashes and drive smart. If you plan to drink, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”

Regional statistics*:

  • On average, 16 people are killed and 830 injured in 1,500 impaired driving related crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.

  • On average, 11 people are killed and 320 injured in 600 impaired driving related crashes on Vancouver Island every year.

  • On average, 22 people are killed and 390 injured in 660 impaired driving related crashes in the Southern Interior every year.

  • On average, 20 people are killed and 190 injured in 310 impaired driving related crashes in North Central B.C. every year.

Canada Day statistics**:

  • Each year on Canada Day, one person is killed and 190 injured in 710 crashes in B.C.

  • Each year 130 people are injured in 430 crashes in the Lower Mainland on Canada Day.

  • Each year 24 people are injured in 110 crashes on Vancouver Island on Canada Day.

  • Each year 24 people are injured in 120 crashes in the Southern Interior on Canada Day.

  • Each year seven people are injured in 42 crashes in the North Central region on Canada Day.

Editor’s note:

Lower Mainland media are invited to attend evening CounterAttack roadchecks this weekend in Vancouver. Media can contact VPD Sgt Rob Gough at 778-839-0294 for July 3 details and VPD Sgt Brian Trklja at 604-760-8104 for July 4 details. Please call after 9pm that day to confirm location.

Notes about the data:

*Injuries and crashes are police data, five-year average 2015 to 2019. Fatal victim counts are police data, five-year average 2014 to 2018. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.

**Canada Day is calculated from 00:00 to midnight and includes incidents where the time was not reported. Based on five-year average. Injured victim and crash data from ICBC data (2015 to 2019) and fatal victims from police data (2014 to 2018).

B.C. seeks to mitigate rising cost of strata insurance

B.C. seeks to mitigate rising cost of strata insurance

The Government of British Columbia says it is taking action to help stratas better mitigate the rising costs of insurance.

Actions include bringing more transparency to the strata insurance industry, closing loopholes related to depreciation reports, ending referral fees paid to property managers and giving strata owners and corporations the tools they need to do their part, a Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing media release stated.

“The rising cost of strata insurance is a major financial pressure facing thousands of British Columbians during an already challenging time,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “This is an extremely complex issue playing out in the private insurance industry, but that doesn’t lessen our government’s commitment to doing what we can to make the situation better. Everyone has a role to play in returning the market to balance and today our government is taking a first step, with the understanding that we will take further action as needed.”

Through amendments to the Strata Property Act and Financial Institutions Act, as well as associated regulatory changes, the government will:

* end the practice of referral fees between insurers or insurance brokers and property managers or other third parties;

* set out clear guidelines for what strata corporations are required to insure to help strata councils make informed decisions on their insurance policies;

* require strata corporations to inform owners about insurance coverage, provide notice of any policy changes, including increasing deductibles, and allow stratas to use their contingency reserve fund when necessary to pay for unexpected premium increases; and

* protect strata unit owners against large lawsuits from strata corporations if the owner was legally responsible for a loss or damage, but through no fault of their own.

The legislation also paves the way for the government to make further regulatory changes to:

* identify when stratas are not required to get full insurance coverage;

* strengthen depreciation reporting requirements, including limiting the ability to use existing loopholes in the legislation to avoid completing depreciation reports;

* change the minimum required contributions made by strata unit owners and developers to a strata corporation’s contingency reserve fund;

* require brokers to disclose the amount of their commission, which has been reported to be at times in excess of 20%; and

* strengthen notification requirements to strata corporations of changes to insurance coverage and costs, or an intent not to renew.

These regulatory changes will be made after further consultation with strata community stakeholders.

“We understand the difficulty people living in stratas face when they experience a large increase in insurance costs or have challenges finding insurance at all,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This legislation is a first step to help strata corporations now as we continue to work on this complex issue. I look forward to the BC Financial Services Authority’s final report in the fall, which will help identify further actions government can take to support people living in strata properties.”

Government’s actions were guided in part by input from key stakeholders, including Condominium Home Owners Association of BC; Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association; Insurance Brokers Association of BC; Insurance Bureau of Canada; Insurance Council of BC; Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate; Real Estate Council of BC; Mortgage Brokers Association of BC; BC Real Estate Association; and the interim report of the BC Financial Services Authority.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Finance will also review the final report from BC Financial Services Authority in the fall to determine what further changes the government can make to help lower strata insurance costs for people.

Over 1.5 million people live in strata housing in B.C.

At the direction of the minister of Finance, the BC Financial Services Authority released its interim report on the rising cost of strata insurance in British Columbia on June 16, with a final report expected in fall 2020.

The report found that premiums have risen by approximately 40% throughout the province on a year-over-year basis, with deductibles experiencing up to triple-digit increases over the same period.

The BCFSA is the regulator responsible for the private sector insurance industry in British Columbia.

Source: e-KNOW

Edited for ILSTV

Keep motorcyclists safe by sharing the road, urges ICBC

Keep motorcyclists safe by sharing the road, urges ICBC

June 16, 2020

With warmer weather upon us, more riders will be hitting the road. Summer is also the time when the majority of motorcycle crashes occur. In fact, on average, seven motorcyclists are injured every day in July and August. That’s why ICBC is urging everyone to expect more riders on the road and to share the roads safely with them.

On average, 1,600 motorcyclists are injured and 37 are killed in 2,500 crashes every year in B.C.

Motorcyclists can be difficult to see – especially if you’re not actively looking for them. The most common contributing factors police assign to drivers who hit motorcyclists are distracted or inattentive driving and failing to yield the right-of-way.

It’s important that both drivers and riders practice safe driving to keep our communities safe. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or driving a vehicle, we all need to do our part to prevent crashes and avoid putting additional pressure on first responders and medical resources.

Tips for drivers:

  • Stay focused and avoid distractions that take your mind off driving and your eyes off the road.

  • Scan intersections and look for motorcycles. When turning left, look carefully for oncoming motorcycles.

  • Look for motorcycles before changing lanes. Due to their smaller profile, motorcycles can be harder to see, and fit more easily into your vehicle’s blind spots.

  • Make a game of looking for motorcycles while you drive. Have each person in your vehicle guess how many riders you’ll see during the drive and then count them as you go. It’s a great way train yourself, and your passengers, to look for motorcyclists.

  • Give lots of space when passing a motorcycle and allow at least three seconds following distance when you’re behind a motorcycle.

Tips for riders:

  • Get training – whether it’s in preparation for getting a licence, or to refresh your skills.

  • Practice, practice, practice – find an empty parking lot, set up cones, and practice your turning, low-speed manoeuvres, and emergency braking skills, so they’ll be second nature when you need them on the road.

  • Don’t ride more bike than you can handle. Choose a motorcycle that is a fit for your experience and skill ability. It’s important to be familiar with the handling characteristics of your ride and be able to safely manage it.

  • Choose to wear safety gear designed for riding, especially gear that not only protects you from the road, but also gives you the best chance of being seen. Bright colours and reflective materials are best.

  • Protect yourself from serious injury by always wearing a helmet that meets or exceeds legal requirements. Full face helmets offer the best protection. At a minimum, look for a helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE safety standards.

If you’re interested in getting your motorcycle licence, COVID-19 restrictions have been eased and you can now book an appointment for your knowledge test and motorcycle skills testing.

If your learner’s licence (class 6L) expired on or after March 17, then your first requalification test fee of $15 will be waived. If you are unsuccessful, you will need to book another appointment to reattempt the test. Regular fees will apply.

Get more driver and rider tips on icbc.com and the latest information on road test bookings at icbc.com/covid-19.

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, 800 motorcyclists were injured in 1,300 crashes in 2018. On average, 13 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • On Vancouver Island, 330 motorcyclists were injured in 500 crashes in 2018. On average, seven motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • In the Southern Interior, 300 motorcyclists were injured in 380 crashes in 2018. On average, 14 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • In the North Central region, 47 motorcyclists were injured in 57 crashes in 2018. On average, four motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

*Motorcyclist incident and injuries in B.C. based on ICBC claims data (2018). Includes incidents in parking lots and incidents involving parked vehicles; and excludes crashes involving out of province vehicles.

Motorcyclist fatalities in B.C. based on police-reported data (2014-2018). Includes low-speed motorcycles (scooters, mopeds and trikes).

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