Before travelling abroad to participate in an event or race, check your insurance policy

Excerpted article by by  |

Ask Oli: Rider insurance

In May, I crashed during a race in North Carolina. It wasn’t terrible, but on account of my knee cap being exposed and me fainting, I was sent off in an ambulance and had some x-rays done.

Crashing is a reality of racing and since usually the rider assumes responsibility for any injury they receive while racing or training, it is expected that all riders will have travel insurance. Really you should also have travel insurance regardless of whether you are racing or not. Well, I certainly thought I had it, so despite asking people around me not to put me in an ambulance and not to take me to the hospital (just in case), I wasn’t actually that worried when I was tossed onto a stretcher.

Anyway, fast forward to the end of August. I return late one night from a five day hike and find a letter in the kitchen addressed to me, and it’s a collection notice from the ambulance and hospital back in North Carolina. The sudden jolt of reality and reminder of a sort of past life, after spending the better part of a week sleeping on beaches on a remote island and staring at campfires and the night sky instead of a screen; it was rude welcome home.

I was staring at a bill for several thousand dollars, and I had planned to register myself for some university courses the following morning.

After a few days my good friend, Jon Watkin, informed me that when purchasing a Cycling BC license, you’re also purchasing insurance. I had no idea and was definitely a bit skeptical. As it turns out, Jones Brown does in fact insure Cycling BC members for accidents that take place during sanctioned events if their existing medical plan won’t cover certain expenses.

This was amazing news. As of this morning, I no longer owe an American hospital thousands of dollars for some band-aids, a fancy ride, and some black and white photographs. In fact, I can go to school instead.

I’m not sure how I missed this and I don’t doubt that many of you already know about the insurance, but just in case, I suggest looking into your provincial cycling association to see what they have to offer. I now know that ManitobaSaskatchewan and Ontario are part of Cycling Canada’s National Insurance Program provided by Holman Insurance Brokers. I’m guessing that most provinces are. It appears to me that the insurance provided in this plan is more or less the same as what I received from Jones Brown.

Now that I’ve researched it a little bit, I realize that I was quite ignorant. I’m so happy to see this sort of support for cyclists. I was always under the impression that there wasn’t any support like this, and that’s my bad. I feel very fortunate to have received coverage and hope that everyone is aware of what we have access to.

How driving high affects your auto insurance

Ottawa Business Journal

Driving under the influence of drugs is a criminal offence, with potentially devastating – even deadly – consequences.

And yet impaired driving is still alarmingly prevalent in Canada. A 2017 study on drug-impaired driving by Public Safety Canada found that 28 per cent of surveyed marijuana users admitted to operating a vehicle while under the influence. Furthermore, one in three Canadians have been passengers in a vehicle operated by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana.

The recreational use of marijuana will be legal in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018. In anticipation of the new legislation coming into force, it is important to note that in addition to posing a risk to yourself and others, driving high can result in a criminal conviction and carries significant implications for your own insurance coverage.

What are no-fault benefits?
As part of the legislative scheme for car insurance in Ontario, all drivers and passengers injured as a result of the “use and operation of a motor vehicle” have access to Statutory Accident Benefits. These benefits are commonly known as “no-fault benefits.” They are available without regard to whether you caused or contributed to the accident, but some exceptions apply.

How does driving high impact your no-fault benefits claim?
With regard to no-fault benefits, if you are found to be impaired by alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the accident, your insurer may not be required to pay you an income replacement benefit, a non-earner benefit or other benefits such as lost educational expenses, expenses of visitors and housekeeping and home maintenance benefits.

Under section 31 of the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule, there is no obligation on the part of your insurer to pay for those no-fault benefits to a person who is convicted of “operating an automobile while the ability to operate the automobile is impaired by alcohol or a drug.” It is important to note that this exclusion will apply not only to the driver, but also to any passenger of the automobile.

In an impaired driving scenario, you would not be entitled to the benefits listed below:

Income Replacement Benefits (“IRBs”): Maximum coverage of $400 per week, unless optional benefits are purchased to increase IRBs to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week.

Non-Earner Benefits (“NEBs”): $185 per week less the total of all other income replacement assistance, if any, for the same week.

Lost Educational Expenses: Maximum coverage of $15,000 if you were enrolled in a program of elementary, secondary, post-secondary or continuing education and are unable to continue the program.

Expenses of Visitors: Reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by certain people visiting you during your treatment or recovery.

Housekeeping and Home Maintenance: Maximum coverage of $100 per week, but only payable if optional benefits were purchased or you sustained a catastrophic injury.

Although the benefits described above would no longer be available to you, you may still have access to some no-fault benefits.

For example, provided that you qualify for benefits generally, you will still have access to reasonable and necessary medical, rehabilitative and attendant care benefits.

Key takeaway
To underscore the obvious: You should not drive while under the influence of marijuana or any other drug.

But beyond the potentially devastating impact of impaired driving on its victims and survivors, you should also consider the detrimental impact of impaired driving on your no-fault benefits claim.

In short, if you get into a car accident while driving high, or you are a passenger in a car driven by someone who is high, the consequences may be significant and your insurance coverage for no-fault benefits will be significantly reduced.

Source:

Ludmilla (Milla) Jarda is an associate lawyer with Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, and a member of the firm’s commercial litigation, insurance defence, personal injury and Indigenous law practice groups.

Shift Into Winter Before You Get Behind the Wheel

The Winter Driving Safety Alliance — an organization committed to promoting safe winter driving — urges all drivers and workplaces to Shift into Winter by preparing their vehicles and adjusting driving behaviour to reduce the risk of a crash in challenging winter conditions.

Depending on where you drive in the province, winter road conditions vary, from snow and ice in the north and on high mountain passes, to rain and fog commonly found in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island. B.C. drivers — and employers with workers who operate fleet or personal vehicles for business purposes — need to think ahead and prepare for changing road and weather conditions, as winter tires or chains are required on designated B.C. routes, starting October 1.

On average, each year in B.C., the number of casualty crashes caused by driving too fast for conditions doubles in December, compared to October — 246 crashes in December compared to 123 in October (police-attended crashes, 2013-2017). The winter months of November, December, and January are a particularly dangerous time for people who drive for work, with nearly 28 per cent of all work-related crashes resulting in injury and time loss claims occurring during these months (WorkSafeBC Data 2013 – 2017).

Starting October 1, most B.C. highways require passenger vehicles to have winter tires (three-peaked mountain and snowflake, or mud and snow) with at least 3.5 mm of tread depth and commercial vehicles to carry chains.

While winter tires, chains and other devices enhance safety by providing better traction in rain, snow, slush and icy conditions, drivers are encouraged to:

  • Plan your route ahead of time – check current highway and weather conditions on DriveBC.ca. Delay travel if conditions are unsafe.
  • Invest in winter driving training – Learn how to brake safely, how to get out of a skid, and how your car handles in winter weather.
  • Slow down – The posted speed limit is the maximum speed under ideal driving conditions, so when inclement weather hits, you should slow down and drive with extra careKeep at least four seconds distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to allow plenty of room in situations where you may need to brake suddenly on a slippery surface.
  • Be prepared – Bring suitable clothing, emergency supplies and a fully charged cell phone if you have one in case of travel delays or a motor vehicle incident.

For employers and supervisors – Employers are legally required to ensure the safety of their workers who operate motor vehicles for business purposes.  The Winter Driving Safety online course and Employer Toolkit on the Shift Into Winter website provides useful information for planning, implementing and monitoring a winter-driving safety program.

For more information about what you can do to stay safe while driving this winter, visit ShiftIntoWinter.ca.

Quotes:

Hon. Harry Bains, Minister of Labour:
“Safety on the job must always be the top priority, for employers and workers alike, and it can be particularly difficult when the workplace is mobile. I urge all drivers to be extra vigilant as we move into the winter season with its challenging road conditions. Be alert, be cautious – and let’s all get home safely at the end of each shift.”

Hon. Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure:
“We want everyone to drive safely and get home to their families this winter. Safe winter driving is a shared responsibility, and I urge people do their part by using good winter tires, planning ahead by checking DriveBC, slowing down and driving to conditions.”

Darrin McCaskillDirector, Programs, Projects and Initiatives, WorkSafeBC:
“Every day hundreds of British Columbians drive on our roads for work – tow trucks, taxis, transports, delivery vans and buses. Organizations need to prepare now, before road conditions deteriorate, by winterizing their safety plans, assessing and addressing risks and ensuring that workers and contractors are instructed on safe driving procedures. There are a number of resources on the Shift into Winter website. WorkSafeBC can also be contacted directly on its prevention line: 1-888-621-7233.”

About the Winter Driving Safety Alliance 
The Winter Driving Safety Alliance is dedicated to improving road safety throughout the province, through the delivery of an annual Shift Into Winter campaign, using multiple platforms to promote safe winter driving and awareness.

Members include Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. (CUPE 873), Automotive Retailers Association, BCAA, BC Forest Safety Council, BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, BC Trucking Association, City of Prince George, Concrete BC, Government of BC, Insurance Corporation of BC, Justice Institute of British Columbia, Kal Tire, Mainroad Group, Pacific Coach Lines, RCMP, SafetyDriven, Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, Wilson M Beck Insurance Group, and WorkSafeBC.

About WorkSafeBC: 
WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the provincial government. The organization serves approximately 2.4 million workers and 238,000 employers throughout British Columbia. In administering the Workers Compensation Act, the organization is accountable to the public through the provincial government.    

SOURCE Winter Driving Safety Alliance

Ontario to exempt Sikh motorcyclists from helmet law

Excerpted article was written By 

Sikhs with turbans will be exempt from wearing motorcycle helmets starting next Thursday, Premier Doug Ford says, revving up concerns over higher medical and insurance costs.

Highway Traffic Act regulations are being changed to fulfil Ford’s election promise of a helmet reprieve on religious grounds, which the previous Liberal government refused to do for safety reasons despite years of lobbying from the Canadian Sikh Association.

“Soon we will have a right to ride with our pride,” the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario posted on its Facebook page Wednesday.

British Columbia, Manitoba and Alberta already have helmet exemptions for Sikh motorcyclists, as does the United Kingdom. Helmets often do not fit over turbans, which take time to put on and take off.

“The safety of our roads will always remain a priority,” Ford said in a statement Wednesday. “But our government also believes that individuals have personal accountability and responsibility with respect to their own well-being.”

So contentious is the issue that the premier held a news event in Brampton mainly for the local Punjabi media, excluding the Queen’s Park press corps.

The Star

Hub International Announces Findings Of First Benefits Barometer Canada Study

Hub International Limited (HUB), a leading global insurance brokerage, released the results of its first employee benefits Canada study, 2018 Benefits Barometer Canada, which highlights the top priorities and challenges facing today’s employee benefits decision-makers.

The study of nearly 200 benefits decision makers at Canadian companies with 20 to 999 employees, found that employers want to create and implement benefits programs that will attract, retain and compete for talent they need while managing costs. However, the lack of consensus from top management is holding back progress. Additionally, many HR professionals are moving toward a longer-term approach on strategic benefits planning to win senior management support for new benefits initiatives, including wellness and flexible benefits plans.

“Now with an increasingly young and diverse workforce, we are finding that most Canadian companies are looking at benefits as a strategic tool for attracting and retaining talent in a highly competitive market,” said Mike Barone, President of Employee Benefits at HUB International. “Benefits are becoming the most important differentiator for organizations. HR leaders need advisors to help tailor benefits to offer their employees choice and flexibility, and move their organizations toward greater success.”

Key insights from the study:

  • Survey respondents reported difficulty getting support from upper management to introduce flexible benefits (24 percent), wellness programs (21 percent), new cost management strategies (20 percent) and changes to retirement plans (20 percent).
  • Managing both sides of the benefits cost equation is worrisome to HR professionals, with 36 percent citing employee costs as a concern and 32 percent, employer costs. Still, 60 percent believe they have done all they reasonably can to control rising medical costs.
  • Health and wellness were cited by 38 percent of respondents as the top priority, implemented as a means to boost employee morale (29 percent) and productivity (23 percent) and reduce turnover (22 percent).
  • Flexible benefit plans are the most common strategy used to manage costs, with 19 percent of companies leveraging the tactic in 2017. However, only 12 percent who have implemented them have seen them measurably reduce benefits costs. This might be attributed to flawed design as some aspects of these plans can increase utilization, cost and administrative complexity if not designed optimally.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents are taking 18 months or more to plan their benefits, which suggests that many are taking a longer-term approach to their benefits planning.

Download HUB International’s 2018 Benefits Barometer Canada to learn more.

Earlier this year, HUB released the findings of its third annual U.S. Employee Benefits Barometer. The employee benefits Canada study is one of HUB’s tailored services as part of its recently announced Canadian employee benefits growth and services strategy.

About Hub International
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Hub International Limited (HUB) is a leading full-service global insurance broker providing property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services. From offices located throughout North America, HUB’s vast network of specialists provides peace of mind on what matters most by protecting clients through unrelenting advocacy and tailored insurance solutions. For more information, please visit hubinternational.com.

SOURCE Hub International Limited

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network Releases New Report

A new report released today from the Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN), Breast Cancer: The Lived Experience, provides the comprehensive perspective of almost 500 Canadian women who have experienced a breast cancer diagnosis. Patients and survivors diagnosed with both early stage and metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer, share their experiences with the process of being diagnosed, making treatment decisions, accessing clinical trials, the psychosocial and financial impact, accessing palliative care and managing survivorship challenges. Through their experiences, patients identify current gaps when it comes to meeting the needs of breast cancer patients. This is the first Canadian report to share the experiences of early stage patients in parallel with metastatic breast cancer patients; creating a greater understating of the similarities and differences between both groups.

 

“I think we can all agree that the objective for both patients and government are the same – to improve the lives of those burdened with disease and find efficient solutions to achieve this,” says Cathy Ammendolea, Chair of the Board of Directors, CBCN. “To best accomplish this, however, it’s critical to understand the patient-perspective in order to address these needs with a patient-centred approach.”

THE CANADIAN BREAST CANCER NETWORK’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Based on the experiences of these women, CBCN has identified five overarching factors that can greatly improve the health outcomes and the quality of life of Canadians diagnosed with breast cancer:

  1. Improved Educational Resources: The quality and availability of patient focused education has increased over the past couple of decades: however, there are still some patient-friendly educational resources that are lacking. These include specific resources for newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer patients, decision aids that support breast cancer surgery and post-surgery decision making and the navigation of financial resources.
  2. Increased Access to Treatments: This challenge was specifically identified and vocalized by people living with metastatic breast cancer. Efforts need to continue to shorten the drug approval process time, increase equitable access to new medications and ensure equitable access for take-home oral cancer medications.
  3. Increased Access to Information: Information available to patients about their health and treatment has increased; however, there is still information that isn’t always communicated to patients that would help them make informed decisions about their health. This includes information about breast density, palliative care options and information about clinical trials.
  4. Integrated Systemic Supports: The health care system as a whole is responsible for many of the services and supports that patients need to achieve optimal health and manage their breast cancer; however, these supports can be challenging to navigate and are sometimes lacking. Supports that need to be addressed at a systemic level include patient navigation, communication tools to support general practitioners during the diagnosis process and increased Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits.
  5. Increased Awareness and Understanding of Metastatic Breast Cancer: Accurate statistics and increased awareness would help further the understanding of the impact of this stage of breast cancer and better support those with it.

The recommendations laid out in this report provide key starting points and practical solutions to address the burden of breast cancer and improve the lives of those impacted by this disease. Visit CBCN.ca for more information and read the report to learn more about these recommendations.

ABOUT CBCN
The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) is Canada’s only patient-directed national breast cancer health charity. The Canadian Breast Cancer Network is committed to ensuring the best quality of care for all Canadians affected by breast cancer and strives to voice the views and concerns of breast cancer survivors and patients through the promotion of information sharing, education and advocacy activities.

SOURCE Canadian Breast Cancer Network

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