$110,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic Low Back Pain

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for partly disabling chronic back pain caused by a collision.

In today’s case (Teunissen v. Hulstra) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2012 collision caused by the Defendant.  The crash caused a soft tissue injury which was chronic and partly disabling in nature.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $110,000 Madam Justice Burke provided the following reasons:

[67]         I conclude the medical evidence clearly establishes Mr. Teunissen suffered a soft tissue injury in the accident and continues to suffer from chronic back pain. It also establishes the accident is a material contributing cause to Mr. Teunissen’s back injury, pain and resulting disability…

[92]         Mr. Teunissen is a determined and stoic individual who has persisted in trying to work and support his family, despite the chronic pain. He has demonstrated this more than once, attempting work opportunities that he previously would have had no difficulties with and which he unfortunately cannot continue.

[93]         The assessment of non-pecuniary damages depends on the particular circumstances of the plaintiff in each case. Having considered Mr. Teunissen’s age, the nature of the injuries, the severity of his symptoms and the fact they have been ongoing for five years, the poor prognosis for recovery, and the authorities, I am of the view the appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages is $110,000.

New school zone survey shows more parents driving aggressively in school zones

New school zone survey shows more parents driving aggressively in school zones

BCAA’s second annual School Zone Safety survey shows that driving in school zones has gone from bad to worse. In fact, this year’s survey shows a marked increase in concern across the board. Particularly alarming is that hostile/aggressive attitudes amongst parents such as honking or using profanities has jumped almost 30 per cent (51% to 66%).

Last year, Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement called school zones the “wild west”. Shocked by this year’s results, Pettipas is more determined than ever to get parents (the worst offenders) to make—and keep— a ‘new school year’ resolution to improve their driving habits.

“We asked over 300 school faculty and staff and over 400 parents or guardians what they’re seeing in their school zones, and it’s very concerning to see that unsafe driving in school zones has increased,” says Pettipas. “There’s no excuse for hostile behaviour and breaking traffic rules. Parents and motorists have to start driving safely, we don’t want someone to get hurt.”

In addition to more hostile/aggressive attitudes, BCAA’s School Zone Safety survey also reveals an increase in unsafe driving behaviours and ignoring traffic rules amongst parents and guardians dropping off or picking up their children: Over 80 per cent witness parents not following rules of the road, including not stopping at a marked crosswalk (82%) or driving over the speed limit (93%). Distracted driving has also increased and remains high (82% to 86%).

Shawn, a parent himself, understands how stressful school zone driving can be. “We appreciate the honesty of parents and guardians who participated in the survey and shared what they’ve been witnessing in their school zones,” says Pettipas. “Because parents and guardians are in school zones every day, improving safety in school zones can really start with them, and the first step is to improve their driving habits and keep the right attitude.”

BCAA provides tips for parents and motorists to help make school zones safer:

  1. Avoid running late. A great deal of stress arises from feeling rushed. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning and consider completing tasks and preparing your child’s school items the night before.
  2. Focus on what you can control. No matter what’s going on around you, be patient and courteous. Reacting with extreme frustration may aggravate the situation and increase the risk of unsafe behaviours.
  3. Follow the rules, which includes school drop off and pick up procedures and rules of the road such as driving within the speed limit, stopping at marked cross walks and not driving distracted. If everyone follows the rules, problems and misunderstandings are less likely to occur.
  4. Pay close attention while driving. Expect the unexpected and look out for safety risks such as kids darting from cars, along with kids who are cycling and other pedestrians.
  5. Reduce congestion. Consider walking or cycling your child to school or park a few blocks      away   and walk your child the rest of the way to school.

When it comes to rules of the road, BCAA reminds drivers of sections within the BC Motor Vehicle Act which address common driving mistakes made in school zones:

  • Speeding. School zone speed limit is 30 km/hr between 8AM-5PM on school days unless otherwise posted. In playground zones, a 30 km/hr speed limit is in effect from dawn to dusk, 365 days of the year.
  • Crosswalks. Drivers must stop for pedestrians crossing the road at a crosswalk. The best and safest rule is for drivers to stop once they see a pedestrian standing on the curb at a crosswalk and to wait for as long as it takes for all pedestrians to reach the curb on the other side.
  • Crossing guards/patrollers. Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists must follow the instructions of a school crossing guard or student patroller.
  • Distracted driving. Using an electronic device while driving, including holding the device in a position in which it may be used, is considered to be distracted driving and is against the law. For parents and guardians dropping off or picking up their child from school, BCAA recommends they avoid using their cell phone altogether within a school zone, even when their car is parked and idling at the curb.

But the onus is not entirely on drivers. It’s also important for pedestrians and cyclists to follow the rules of the road. BCAA recommends that parents teach their kids how to walk or cycle safely near or on the road.

Visit bcaa.com/blog to learn more about school zone safety.

About the survey

Results are based on an online study conducted from July 15 to July 21, 2017, among a representative sample of 720 adults in British Columbia, including 307 who currently serve as principals, teachers or school staff at a British Columbiaelementary school, and 413 parents or guardians who drop off and/or pick up a child from school. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error for the entire sample—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.7 percentage points.

About BCAA

The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, auto and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full auto service at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through community programs such as its School Safety PatrolCommunity Child Car Seat Program and BCAA Play HerePlease visit bcaa.com.

Examples of common driving offences and fines

Motor Vehicle Act section

Description

Fine

Driver penalty points

179(1)

Failure to yield to pedestrian

$167

3

147(1) and (2)

Speeding in school or playground zones

$196-$253

3

179(4)

Disobey school guard/ patrol

$167

3

214.2 (1) and (2)

Using electronic device while driving or emailing or texting while driving

$368

4

 

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA)

Photo: Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement asks parents and drivers to make a ‘new school year’ resolution to drive safe.

Tax changes needed to avoid ‘two classes of Canadians’: finance minister

VANCOUVER _ Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau says small business owners in Canada have an unfair advantage that could create two classes of Canadians.

Morneau met with small business owners in Vancouver today as part of his cross-Canada consultations on proposed changes to income-tax rules affecting entrepreneurs.

He says small business owners in Canada pay the lowest income tax of all G7 countries and that encourages businesses to create jobs, but the current tax system isn’t sustainable.

Morneau says incentives such as “income sprinkling” unfairly allow business owners to reduce taxes by shifting some of their earnings to family members who don’t have to work in the company.

If changes aren’t made, Morneau says Canada risks being split into those who get financial advantages and those who don’t.

But entrepreneurs say current incentives allow them to take on the risks of opening their own companies and, unlike salaried and public-sector employees, they don’t have a guaranteed pension or employment insurance protection.

Canadian gov’t has issued an advisory urging residents to avoid non-essential travel to the areas affected by Irma

The Travel Advice and Advisories are the Government of Canada’s official source of destination-specific travel information. They give you important advice to help you to make informed decisions and to travel safely while you are abroad.

Will the storm affect Canada?

The storm will have no direct impact on Canada, according to Global News’ chief meteorologist, Anthony Farnell. But Farnell notes that Canadians travelling may be affected.

“If you are a Canadian travelling or know anyone travelling through the Caribbean, Cuba or Florida this storm will directly impact you in the next week,” he said. “Landfall is looking more likely in Florida this weekend but a continued shift west and south in the track means that a landfall in Cuba is also possible.”

No matter where you plan to travel, make sure you check the Travel Advice and Advisories page for your destination twice: once when you are planning your trip, and again shortly before you leave. Safety and security conditions may change between the date you book your travel and your departure date.

See Travel Advice and Advisories – FAQ for more information.

Choose your destination below to see regularly updated information on:

  • local safety and security conditions and areas to avoid
  • entry and exit requirements
  • local laws and culture
  • possible health hazards and health restrictions
  • natural hazards and climate
  • where to find help while you are travelling abroad

Source: www.canada.ca

SGI: Wildfire evacuation expenses may be covered under insurance policy

The northern Saskatchewan wildfires have forced hundreds to evacuate their homes and communities. SGI is providing some important information for people in the impacted areas.

“We encourage SGI CANADA customers to contact their insurance broker, as they may be eligible for coverage of living expenses while displaced from their homes,” SGI President and CEO Andrew Cartmell said. “Their insurance broker can provide details about the amount of coverage available.”

All SGI CANADA customers with a personal property policy (Prestige, Home, Mobile Home, Tenant, Condo or Agro Pak) who have been evacuated from their communities have mass evacuation coverage, subject to limitations in their policies.

Mass evacuation coverage includes:

  • expenses for hotel/motel stays or subsidies for those staying with friends or family members
  • other expenses related to the evacuation, including fuel, meals and transportation costs

These costs can be covered up to a period of 30 days, Customers should save all their receipts to submit if they decide to put in a claim. Insurance payouts are subject to the policy’s deductible.

SGI CANADA personal or commercial property policies will NOT be cancelled if their policy expires or due to non-payment, for a period up to 30 days past the expiration or non-payment date.

Likewise, Saskatchewan Auto Fund customers who have been evacuated do not have to worry about their insurance lapsing while they are away from their home and unable to renew their driver’s licence or vehicle plate insurance.

“We will take care of our customers who, due to evacuation, have been unable to renew their licence or plates,” said Cartmell. “If a customer incurs a claim, customers will be able to renew their expired driver’s licence or vehicle plate and access Auto Fund coverage, subject to their deductible.”

SGI will have employees on hand at the Saskatoon and Prince Albert shelter locations to provide assistance to evacuees.

SGI CANADA policy holders can also contact their broker to inquire about their coverage under their existing policies. In the event of an emergency, if customers can’t reach their broker, they can call the claims hotline number 1-844-745-2015.

Customers with questions related to driver’s licences and vehicle registration can call the Customer Contact Centre at 1-844-TLK-2SGI (1-844-855-2744).

SGI CANADA and Saskatchewan Auto Fund customers can learn more via our online FAQ.

CCIR sights improved disclosure for segregated funds

The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) published its Strategic Plan 2017-2020 on June 27 (link). The new plan outlines the priorities and initiatives of the CCIR for the next three years. However, consumer protection issues related to the sale of segregated funds—originally identified as a priority in 2014—remains a key objective for the CCIR for the foreseeable future.

The CCIR has engaged in a review to assess the regulatory framework of segregated funds to identify whether changes were necessary, particularly in light of recent regulatory reforms affecting similar investment products.

In May of 2016, the CCIR’s Segregated Funds Working Group published an issues paper for public consultation. With an emphasis on treating the customer fairly, the paper sought feedback on the potential for gaps in the current regulatory framework and the information required to ensure that customers receive helpful and meaningful disclosures.

Since the closing of the consultations on the issues paper, the CCIR has analyzed the input it has received and continued to work with key stakeholders on critical issues related to the segregated funds initiative. In the fall, the CCIR intends to publish a position paper outlining its recommendations and expectations.  The recommendations will refer to issues such as the delivery of the Fund Facts document for subsequent transactions, risk classification methodology, oversight of sales, needs-based analysis, updating of client records and know-your-product due diligence requirements.

The CCIR will also publish a prototype disclosure document, identifying minimum required information on performance as well as on fees and charges. The prototype disclosure document is expected to be released in winter 2018, following consumer opinion testing.

“Ensuring that customers have the information needed to understand not only how their segregated funds are performing, but also their full costs is of the utmost importance to us.” Anatol Monid, Chair of the Segregated Funds Working Group said.

The CCIR’s work in this area is expected to result in significant changes in the regulation of segregated funds; changes that are intended to ensure customers better understand the costs and performance of their segregated fund investments.

Further information on the segregated funds initiative is available on the CCIR’s website (www.ccir-ccrra.org).

About the CCIR:

The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators is a national association of insurance regulators that traces its roots back to 1914. The mandate of the CCIR is to enhance insurance supervision and regulation to serve the public interest and to foster increased cooperative supervision and information sharing among regulatory authorities.

SOURCE Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) 

For further information: Media Contact: Malon Edwards (For English media ‐ Toronto), 416-590-7536; Sylvain Théberge (For Francophone media ‐ Montréal), 514-940‐2176, 1-877-525‐0337, extension 2341

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