Court Sets Mileage Rate at 50 cents / km for Independent Medical Exam Travel

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken

Reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Kamloops Registry, finding a Defendant should pay 50 cents per kilometer as reasonable mileage money when a Plaintiff is compelled to travel to see a defense selected physician.

In the recent case (Nieman v. Joyal) the Defendant wished to have the plaintiff examined by an occupational therapist int he course of an injury lawsuit but could not agree on various terms including appropriate conduct money. In finding 50 cents / km is reasonable Master McDiarmid provided the following reasons:

[28]        A careful reading of Rule 7‑6 reveals that it refers to an order that the person submit to examination by a medical practitioner, and then the court is permitted to make an order respecting any expenses connected with the examination. No specific reference is made to the Schedule 3.

[29]        It seems to me that there is no difference in principle between the reasonable expenses of a plaintiff attending his own doctor, such as was awarded at 50 cents a kilometre in several of the cases, including the ones of Justice Stewart and Justice Schultes, and a plaintiff attending an independent medical examination, especially where the plaintiff agrees to attend an independent medical examination located in a different city.

[30]        Accordingly, I order the following:

1)    the plaintiff is to attend to be examined by Gary Worthington‑White, an occupational therapist, on a date to be agreed upon by the parties, with liberty to apply if there are difficulties;

2)    the defendant must provide conduct money as follows: firstly, mileage for 730 kilometres at 50 cents a kilometre, which is $365; secondly, overnight accommodation for one night at $175; and third, meals in the amount of $75. I apprehend that there will be at least four;

I know that it is approximately three and a half hours’ driving time from Burnaby to Kamloops, and it seems to me that what is reasonable here is that if the appointment ends before 4:30 p.m., it is reasonable for the plaintiff to drive home. So this is the next part of the order:  If the appointment ends after 4:30 p.m. on the date it commences, the defendant must promptly reimburse the plaintiff for one additional night’s accommodation and $12 additional meal allowance;

3)    if there are parking expenses not included in the hotel accommodation, those are to be promptly reimbursed upon being provided with the invoicing;

4)    the plaintiff can submit actual meal expenses, including alcohol, less whatever he has received in his allowance, as costs and the registrar can determine the reasonableness on assessment; and

5)    any notes recording any history or observations and data, including test results, are to be provided by October 31, 2015, or at such other date as may be agreed upon by counsel, if the presently‑scheduled examination does not go ahead.

[31]        It does seem to me that the plaintiff has been largely successful here, and so the costs of this application are to the plaintiff in any event of the cause.

#IBM: Three Ways Cognitive Computing Will Help the Insurance Industry

#IBM: Three Ways Cognitive Computing Will Help the Insurance Industry

By Christian Bieck and Craig Bedell, IBM

The insurance industry is facing a broad range of disruptive forces: changing demographics, volatile economies, sophisticated fraud attacks and rapid digitization of the industry.

At the same time, empowered consumers are demanding more from their insurance providers. Yet the traditionally conservative insurance industry has been slow in recognizing customers as individuals and providing personalized products and services.

In a recent IBM Institute for Business Value survey, 41 percent of respondents said that they changed insurers because the companies were too slow to react to their changing needs. That number is likely to grow as more customers become accustomed to faster and omni-channel service in other industries, such as retail.

To be successful amid such chaos and change, insurance leaders must be smarter in how they approach data. While the digital age has brought a massive amount of data brimming with potentially useful insights for insurers, organizations still struggle to unlock the full value of all that data.

Welcome to the age of cognitive computing, where cognitive-based systems can help bridge the gap between data quantity and data insights.

Intelligent machines simulate human brain capabilities to help solve society’s most vexing problems. They can build knowledge, understand natural language and provide confidence-weighted responses. And these systems can quickly identify new patterns and insights — capabilities that the insurance industry has never had before.

For the insurance industry, cognitive computing has indeed arrived, and its potential to transform the industry is enormous. Already, cognitive systems are using digital agents to help insurance underwriters make better decisions about their customers.

Our new research indicates that insurance industry leaders should focus on three areas to deal with the technological, economic and societal factors that are disrupting the industry today. They are:

1) Engagement: Cognitive systems can fundamentally change the way humans and systems interact. They can significantly extend the capabilities of humans by taking advantage of the systems’ ability to provide expert assistance. They provide advice by developing deep insights and providing this information to people in a timely, natural and usable way.

Because they are able to engage in dialogue with humans, cognitive systems can understand customers based on past communication and behavior. They use evidence-based reasoning. Today, these types of cognitive systems help insurers offer engaging and personalized interactions with consumers.

2) Discovery capabilities: Some discovery capabilities have already emerged. By using insights into customers’ behavior, providers can send personalized offers to individual consumers. Advanced cognitive capabilities have improved the bottom line by reducing operational costs.

In the near future, cognitive computing could scan images and contents of all legal and claims documents, and cross reference this information against each of the 50 states’ laws in the U.S., which often differ from state to state. In addition to improving costs, this process would help insurers better make better risk assessments and calculate premiums.

3) Decision capabilities: Cognitive systems aid in decision making and reduce human bias by offering evidence-based recommendations. They continually evolve based on new information, outcomes and actions. Current cognitive systems perform more as advisors by suggesting a set of options to human users, who ultimately make the final decisions.

These systems are helping insurance professionals make more informed and timely decisions. In claims management, they can greatly reduce processing times by instantly recognizing relevant passages from documents and communications.

Future applications might help underwriters assess the individual risk of each customer in a more personalized manner by combining weather data, geolocation data and other sources through mobile and newer technology.

The benefits of cognitive computing are not realized in a single “big bang” when they are initially rolled out. Instead, cognitive systems are evolutionary and provide increasing value over time. For the insurance industry, cognitive systems will enable insurers to be more nimble, more innovative and connected to their customers.

Christian Bieck is the Global Insurance Lead for the IBM Institute for Business Value.

Craig Bedell is a Global Insurance Industry Executive for IBM

ILScorp: Scheduled maintenance on Friday, Oct 30 from 7pm PST to Sunday Nov 1

We will be performing some planned maintenance on on Friday October 30, 7pm to Sunday November 1, Pacific Time.


During this time, all e-learing campus and course access will be offline.

We strive to offer a consistently high uptime and need to perform some crucial hardware and database upgrades to ensure that reliability continues. These upgrades will also bring you a better and faster e-learning experience, along with improved security measures.

We try to keep longer planned maintenance windows like this one to a minimum and schedule them for low-traffic hours. We hope this won’t be too much of an inconvenience as we work to bring you the best online learning experience possible.

Thanks in advance for your patience.

Know what features you’ll actually use when picking a credit card

By Craig Wong


OTTAWA – Air Miles, Aeroplan points, low-interest, no-fee the options available on credit cards are dizzying for consumers looking to compare their options when shopping around.

When looking for a credit card, experts say consumers should start with an honest assessment what they need and what they will use.

Those who think they might routinely carry a balance may want to focus on low-interest-rate cards rather than those that offer rewards, because interest charges can quickly outweigh any benefits a rewards card might bring, especially if you only pay the minimum required.

But for those who pay off their balances every month, the choices are abundant.

Sean Gibson, a branch manager at the Royal Bank in Ottawa, says how you plan to use your credit card will drive your choice.

“If you’re paying a monthly fee on a card, you better get the value out of it,” he says.

If you don’t travel much, then travel rewards might not be much use to you, while cash back or points redeemable for groceries could very well be.

Travel insurance including rental car coverage can be options too, but cards that offer that usually charge an annual fee, something you will have to weigh against any potential benefits.

Gibson says you should consider just how much you’ll need to spend to accumulate enough points to be useful to you and whether that’s realistic for you.

“Some people will say put everything on your credit card and pay it off at the end of the month, but that requires a discipline that not everyone has,” he said.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada offers a credit-card selection tool to help consumers compare more than 250 credit cards from a wide range of financial institutions.

The site allows you to filter the cards by feature, picking out just the ones with travel rewards, for example, or sort out the cards that offer cash back on purchases.

FCAC spokeswoman Natasha Nystrom says the tool help narrow down choices for those shopping around for a credit card.

“It enables them as well to compare different credit cards that are out there that correspond to the features that they’re looking for,” she said.

But the final decision rests with the consumer.

“It is definitely important for consumers to take that responsibility,” Nystrom said.

Gibson says people should also be careful about just how many credit cards they accumulate because they have an impact on credit profile even if you don’t use them and they just sit in a desk drawer.

“If you’re not using it, you need to make sure you cancel it,” he said.

Regardless of what card you choose, Gibson says to be sure to use your card responsibly if you don’t, the benefits of paying by credit card will quickly disappear.


Canada, tax evasion and voluntary disclosures

Stikeman Elliott LLP

Canada is tackling international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. It has adopted several measures to do so including a whistleblower program and expanding reporting of international wire transfers to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The Canadian government is also investing C$30 million with the CRA to strengthen compliance and audit efforts.

Canada signed the OECD’s Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on June 2, 2015 after committing in the April 21 federal budget to propose legislation to implement the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). Information received by the CRA under the CRS, including income, account balances (or values) and social insurance numbers, will continue to increase CRA efficiency in curbing international tax evasion.

These developments and Canada’s long-standing voluntary disclosure program are discussed below.

Wire transfer reporting to the CRA

From January 1, 2015, certain financial intermediaries, including banks, credit unions and trust and loan companies are required to report international wire transfers of $10,000 or more to the CRA. This applies to the same financial intermediaries that are already reporting information on international electronic funds transfers to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) for anti-money laundering purposes.

Whistleblower program

On January 15, 2014, the Offshore Tax Informant Program (OTIP) was launched. The program was part of a larger package of reforms announced in Budget 2013 under the “Stop International Tax Evasion Program” and allows the CRA to give financial compensation to individuals who provide information relating to major international tax evasion which leads to the collection of taxes owing of at least $100,000. The amount awarded will be between 5% and 15% of the federal tax collected. In the first twelve months of OTIP (January 2014 to January 2015), 1,712 calls were received with 113 being eligible for the program.

Common Reporting Standard

As noted above, Canada joined the CRS on June 2, 2015 by signing the MCAA. Canada has committed to starting CRS from July 1, 2017 with the first exchanges of information to, and from, Canada scheduled for September 2018. Draft legislative proposals will be released for comment in the coming months.

CRS requires financial institutions to obtain client information for automatic exchange with participating jurisdictions on an annual basis. The CRA will therefore receive information on Canadian residents from over 90 other countries participating in the CRS. This information will include gross income, details of ownership in foreign entities, partnerships, trusts and foundations, account balances (or values) and Canadian Social Insurance Numbers. Similarly, Canadian banks and other financial institutions will need to collect financial account information on accounts held by residents of participating countries and report this to the CRA. The CRA will then automatically exchange this information to the foreign tax authorities where the account holder resides.

Voluntary disclosure program

Canada has a longstanding voluntary disclosure program. If the CRA accepts that a taxpayer qualifies for the program, the CRA will waive penalties, will not prosecute and may partially waive interest. The disclosure can be commenced on a no-names basis. The conditions for a valid disclosure include (i) that a taxpayer must not be under audit or be aware that the CRA has an intention to begin an investigation in relation to the taxpayer, and (ii) the taxpayer must provide complete disclosure.

Figures released by the CRA show that the number of voluntary disclosures of offshore income and assets has nearly doubled in the year ended March 31, 2015 from the previous 12 months with unreported income increasing to almost C$800 million. Further, more than 10,000 voluntary disclosures of offshore activities were made in the past year, up from 1,215 in 2006-07. The pace of voluntary disclosures is likely to continue as the measures discussed above take effect.

Canadian taxpayers concerned with potential past defaults should seek advice on a voluntary disclosure before the CRA initiates an investigation.

Stikeman Elliott LLPRobert L. Reymond and Corine Di Maria

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