Stolen autos sold to unsuspecting buyers in three western provinces: police

Calgary police have charged three people and are looking for a fourth person after a lengthy auto theft investigation that stretched into three provinces.

Police say stolen vehicles were obtained from low-level car thieves, sometimes in exchange for cash, drugs or other stolen vehicles.

The identification numbers were then changed and the vehicles sold to unsuspecting buyers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

An investigation launched in 2017 eventually led to the search of several locations between Calgary and Saskatoon and the seizure of property that included 39 stolen vehicles worth $1.9 million.

Tyler Roger Scott and Tami Lee Scott, both of Calgary, and Ikraam Elahi Chaudhary of Saskatoon face a number of charges, including committing an indictable offence for the benefit of, association of, or direction of a criminal organization.

Charges have also been laid against a third Calgarian, Sylvain Serge Lefevre, who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.

Police said vehicles left running with the keys inside, or those left in unsecure garages, were the thieves’ primary targets.

The renumbered stolen autos were matched with fraudulent bills of sale, registration and insurance documents to conceal the vehicle’s original identity.

The information was used to re-register and insure them before they were sold.

Police said they learned that the vehicles were used in several other crimes, including fraud, drug trafficking, trafficking in stolen property, break and enter and thefts.

Hundreds of fraudulent vehicle identification numbers, some registration documents, drugs and residential property in Calgary purchased through the proceeds of crime were among other items seized when search warrants were executed last May.

Police said their investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be laid.

Cowan Insurance Group Awarded Platinum Status by Canada’s Best Managed Companies

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario, March 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cowan Insurance Group, a leading Canadian insurance brokerage and consulting firm, was recognized for the seventh consecutive year by the prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies program, earning Platinum Club status.

Now in its 26th year, Canada’s Best Managed Companies is one of the country’s leading business awards programs recognizing Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world-class business practices.

“Best Managed Platinum winners have exceptional insights and knowledge into business management practices. They are an inspiration and really take their game to a new level,” Peter Brown, Partner. Deloitte Private and Co-Leader, Canada’s Best Managed Companies Program.

Cowan has proven itself as a market leader through its commitment to innovation and excellence and a client-centric approach to doing business in the commercial and personal insurance, group benefits and wealth management space.

“To be recognized in the Platinum category for this award is truly an honour,” said Heather McLachlin, President of Cowan Insurance Group. “Achieving this milestone is a testament to our employees, the commitment they demonstrate on a daily basis and their ability to consistently deliver an outstanding client experience through their knowledge, collaboration, and innovative thinking.”

Applicants are evaluated by an independent judging panel comprised of representatives from program sponsors in addition to special guest judges. 2019 Best Managed companies share commonalities that include a clear strategy and vision, investment in capability and commitment to talent.

Winners will be honoured at the annual Canada’s Best Managed Companies gala in Toronto on April 17, 2019.

The Best Managed program is sponsored by Deloitte Private, CIBC, Canadian Business, Smith School of Business, and TMX Group.

Expert panel says country needs new agency to oversee pharmacare program

TORONTO — Ottawa should create a new agency to oversee the rollout of a national drug plan, a federally struck expert panel said Wednesday in laying out what it called the “building blocks” of the program.

In its newly released interim report, the panel said the federal government should also develop a national list of drugs to ensure consistent coverage across the country and allocate funding to gather better data on prescription medications.

The report does not, however, say whether the pharmacare program should follow a single-payer model in the style of the country’s universal health care system or adopt another format.

Eric Hoskins, the former Ontario health minister chairing the panel, said a “detailed blueprint” will be presented in the final report due this spring.

“If there’s one sort of absolutely consistent point among everyone that we’ve engaged, it’s that too many people are falling through the cracks, that the current system is inadequate, that it’s not effectively meeting the needs of many, many millions of Canadians,” he said in a Toronto news conference announcing the interim recommendations.

Hoskins said the panel has spent the last few months parsing through submissions made by medical professionals, stakeholders and patients through public meetings and online questionnaires.

The government said it will consider the panel’s interim recommendations while it awaits the final report.

“Canadians should not have to choose between paying for prescriptions and putting food on their table,” said Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, calling pharmacare the “missing piece” in Canada’s health-care system.

The issue is likely to loom large in the run-up to this fall’s federal election, with the New Democrats already promising a universal, public program if elected. The Liberals are widely expected to make a similar pledge.

NDP Health Critic Don Davies expressed disappointment at the interim report, saying the government had missed an opportunity to commit to real change in national drug coverage.

“Today’s report leaves the door open to a private, U.S.-style patchwork system of coverage, and it fails to recommend the system that delivers the best results for patients: a public, single-payer delivery model,” he said in a statement.

Others said they were pleased with the panel’s interim recommendations.

“This is a positive first step towards developing our universal pharmacare program,” said Melanie Benard, the national director of policy and advocacy at the Canadian Health Coalition.

“The interim report outlines some of the fundamentals needed to build an effective, single-payer universal pharmacare program,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

“While we are still waiting for some very important details in the final report, it’s clear that Dr. Hoskins’s advisory council is heading in the right direction.”

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says drugs are the fastest-growing component in health spending but unlike hospital care and doctors’ visits, most people’s medication needs aren’t covered by public health insurance.

The interim report said drug spending in Canada is expected to surpass $50 billion by 2028, up from $34 billion in 2018.

An analysis by the parliamentary budget officer estimated a broad coverage regime would cost $20 billion a year.

Canada currently has a variety of drug plans administered by provinces — mainly for children, seniors and people on social assistance. A plan managed by the federal government offers coverage to other groups, such as Indigenous people and members of the military. Private insurance fills the gaps for some.

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix described the panel’s interim report as encouraging but cautioned that the provinces still pay the bulk of prescription drug costs in Canada.

“This is another step forward, but if we’re going to achieve more coverage for more people, it will require the federal government to step up,” he said.

“It’s very positive to see the interim report, but ultimately this issue will be about whether the federal government is prepared to cost share or not.”

-with files from Dirk Meissner in Victoria

Report Shows Canadians Would Take Prescribed Drugs Containing Cannabis

The recent legalization of cannabis usage has had its fair share of discussion lately, and most of it seems to be relatively positive.

by Damian Ali | inhalton

This trend is reflected in the latest Ipsos study, where research has found that two in three (65 per cent) Canadians would be willing to take a drug containing cannabis that their doctor prescribed, if approved by Health Canada and covered by either public or private insurance.

In particular, those more likely to be willing to take these drugs include men (69 per cent), those aged 18-34 (72 per cent), and residents of Ontario (71 per cent).

However, if these drugs were not covered by public or private insurance and patients had to pay out of pocket, about four in ten (39 per. cent) would still be willing to do so.

An overwhelming majority (82 per cent) of Canadians agree that cannabis can relieve pain and other symptoms and that creating medicines based on cannabis could open the door to many new forms of treatment.

Furthermore, over two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians are willing to take cannabis to help manage things like chronic pain or depression, potentially interesting for those who suffer from conditions that could be treated with cannabis-based medicines.

For prescription purposes itself, however, 45 per cent of Canadians say their doctor prescribed cannabis willingly, compared to nine per cent of those who were refused by their doctors when asked to prescribe cannabis for whatever reason (i.e. doctor didn’t believe in cannabis’ effectiveness).

The survey was given to a random sample of 2,002 Canadians, aged 18 and over. The poll is accurate to within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

What do you think of cannabis’ effectiveness in prescribed drugs?

Winter Storm Causes over $39 Million in Insured Damage in Eastern Canada

A winter storm from January 23 to 25 that caused significant snowfall, freezing rain, rain and strong winds in eastern Canada has caused over $39 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. Most of the damage occurred on January 24 in QuebecNew Brunswick (NB) and Nova Scotia(NS) and was caused by flooding and strong winds. Insured damaged was close to $26 million in Quebec, over $11 million in NB, $2.1 million in NS and $270,000 in PEI.

Strong winds in NS and NB resulted in widespread power outages. NS Power reported 12,000 customers without power, and NB Power reported about 5,300 customers without power. In Moncton, NB, eight people had to evacuate an apartment building after strong winds ripped off part of the roof. Heavy rain also resulted in significant flooding in many regions of southern NB, which led to evacuations and road closures.

There were reports of submerged vehicles in Miramichi, NB, and multiple reports of road flooding in Montreal. About 42,000 Hydro-Québec customers were without power as were many residents in the Ottawa region.

As the financial cost of a changing climate rises, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is advocating for increased investment by all orders of government in mitigating the future impacts of extreme weather and building resiliency to its damaging effects. This includes advocating for new infrastructure to protect communities from floods and fires, improved building codes, better land-use planning, and incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas of highest risk.

IBC reminds Canadians that it is not only insurers who foot the bill for severe weather damage. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for homes and businesses, IBC estimates that Canadian governments pay out $3 to recover public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

Visit IBC’s website for information on how to prepare for a disaster and ways to prevent flood damage to your home.

The amount of insured damage is an estimate provided by CatIQ Inc. www.catiq.com under license to IBC.

Quotes

“Severe weather events driven by climate change are happening more frequently and with greater intensity, especially storms involving floods and severe wind. While the insured damage from these storms is significant, the total economic cost to homeowners and governments is even greater. It is important that consumers take precautions and secure their property to minimize potential damage. They should also understand their insurance policies, and know whether they have overland flood coverage. It’s key to know what’s covered before storms like these, or other catastrophes, strike.”
     – Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC

“As a society we have to adapt to this new reality: the number of extreme weather events continues to increase. Canadians need to understand the financial and physical risks they and their families are exposed to. Better building codes, increased risk awareness and infrastructure improvements are all needed to make our communities more resilient. Consumers will also benefit from a better knowledge of what they can do in and around their homes to protect against the wrath of Mother Nature.”     
     – Pierre Babinsky, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Quebec, IBC

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 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

$170,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Hip Injury, PTSD, TOS and Chronic Pain

Source: Erik Magraken BC Injury and ICBC Claims Blog

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a plaintiff who suffered a host of injuries in a vehicle collision.

In today’s case (Firman v. Asadi) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 collision.  The Defendant denied fault but was found liable at trial.  The collision resulted in multiple injuries including a torn labrum, thoracic outlet syndrome, PTSD and chronic pain.  Prognosis for full recovery was poor.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $170,000 Mr. Justice Verhoeven provided the following reasons:

[145]     Based upon the abundant medical evidence as well as the evidence of the plaintiff and other evidence of the lay witnesses, I find that the plaintiff’s injuries that she attributes to the MVA and as reported to the treatment providers and medical experts were caused by the MVA.

[146]     As noted, there is much overlap in the specific diagnoses found in the medical evidence.  In more general terms, the plaintiff’s injuries sustained in the MVA are: (1) left hip injury, including torn labrum, requiring surgery;  (2) TOS or thoracic outlet syndrome, requiring surgery, and with further surgery recommended; (3) whiplash injuries (myofascial pain syndrome, mechanical spine pain) and resultant chronic pain, particularly in her upper back, left shoulder, and arm; (4) left shoulder tendinopathy; (5) chronic headaches; (6) mood or psychological/psychiatric disorders, including depression, somatic symptom disorder, and anxiety.

[147]     The defendants dispute the diagnosis of PTSD, made by Dr. Schweighofer. Dr. Iso noted PTSD “symptoms”.  In the circumstances of this case, the question of whether the plaintiff fully meets the criteria for this diagnosis is of little practical consequence. Dr. Waraich noted that her symptoms meet the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD, with one exception. He states that, while a diagnosis of delayed onset PTSD could be made, in his view her PTSD symptoms are “better accounted for” by the diagnoses that he makes: depressive disorder, and somatic symptom disorder. However, he added:

…in my opinion, her future course and potential treatment of PTSD symptoms are relevant despite her not meeting full criteria for PTSD in my assessment.

[148]     The prognosis for substantial improvement is poor…

[218]     The evidence discloses that the plaintiff has suffered a very substantial non-pecuniary loss.  She is now only marginally able to continue with her former occupations, and passions in life, fitness training and barbering. Her physical and psychological injuries as outlined previously are substantial, and likely permanent to a large extent at least.  She has endured a great deal of pain and suffering, which will continue indefinitely. She has undergone two surgeries and a third surgery is likely, since it is recommended and the plaintiff says she plans to undergo it.

[219]     Her injuries and their consequences have quite dramatically affected her former lifestyle and her personality. She was previously very physically active. She participated in marathon runs and triathlons, operated a fitness business, and engaged in a number of sporting activities. She was independent and took pride in being able to support herself and her younger daughter, who continues to be a dependant. I referred earlier to the change in her personality noted by the witnesses. She is no longer outgoing, social, energetic and happy, as she was before.

[220]     Her homemaking capacity has been impacted. She testified that pre-accident she kept a tidy household. This is corroborated by Mr. MacDonald and her daughter. She no longer has the ability to maintain a tidy household. Now her house is messy.

[221]     On the other hand, she is far from completely debilitated, and there is a chance her condition will improve, with appropriate treatment.  Her pre-accident condition was not perfect, (in particular, she had symptomatic spinal degeneration, and headaches) and there was some risk that her conditions could have affected her detrimentally in future, as they had pre-accident.  They might have worsened.  …

[231]     Having regard to the case authorities I have referred to, I assess the plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages in the amount of $170,000.

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