5 million claimants expected benefit from reduction of Employment Insurance waiting period

The Government of Canada is commited to help the middle class and  those working hard to join it. As a result of changes made on January 1, 2017, the waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits has been cut to one week. Reducing the waiting period  provides more money for EI-eligible individuals when they become unemployed or leave work temporarily due to health or family pressures. By October 1, 2019, about five million cumulative claimants will have benefitted from this change.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced that this change has resulted in an estimated additional $650 million dollars a year.

For example, for an eligible claimant who is laid off, and subsequently finds work after 12 weeks, the change means that up to 11 weeks of EI benefits will be payable whereas only up to 10 weeks were payable in the past. The reduction of the waiting period applies to all types of EI benefits—regular, fishing, sickness, maternity, parental, compassionate care, Family Caregiver benefits.

This is just one part of the Government of Canada’s recent actions to provide workers, parents and caregivers with more flexible, inclusive and easier to access EI benefits. These include:

  • making the default rules of the most recent Working While on Claim pilot project permanent and extending them to EI maternity and sickness benefits;
  • providing a choice of duration of parental benefits;
  • providing additional weeks of EI regular benefits to eligible seasonal claimants in 13 targeted regions; and,
  • providing more opportunities for eligible EI claimants to upskill and enhance their employability while still receiving EI benefits.

Finally, new parental sharing benefits that provide additional weeks of benefits to families when parents of a newborn or newly adopted child share parental benefits will be available starting in March 2019.

Quote
“Every Canadian’s situation is unique. By providing support sooner, we are ensuring middle class families has the money they need, when they need it the most.  We are making EI caregiving, maternity and parental benefits more flexible, inclusive and easier to access, we are providing hard-working middle-class Canadian families with more options to better balance their work and life responsibilities.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick Facts

  • The reduction in the waiting period does not affect the speed of the first payment. The current standard of providing payment within 28 days, 80 percent of the time, continues to apply.
  • About two-thirds of claimants return to work before using all their weeks of entitlement.
  • The 2019 EI premium rate will be $1.62 per $100 of insurable earnings—a decrease of 4 cents for employees compared to the 2018 rate and an effective decrease of 5 cents for employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate.
  • It is estimated a cumulative total of about 2.2 million claimants would benefit from the Working While on Claim measure as of October 1, 2019.
  • The pilot project aimed at assisting seasonal workers is expected to help approximately 51,500 EI seasonal claimants annually.
  • With Skills Boost,it is estimated that about 7,000 adult learners per year will take advantage of the expansion of EI options to take training while continuing to receive EI benefits.

Associated Link

Reducing the two-week waiting period to one week

Employment Insurance Improvements

Tactics used to sell credit card balance protection ‘problematic’ and ‘high risk’ to consumers, watchdog says

Read more

BCSC alleges $47 million investment fraud by insurance group’s top officers

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) has issued a notice of hearing alleging that three leaders of a once fast-growing insurance group committed fraud by getting hundreds of people to purchase unsecured loan agreements.

The BCSC alleges that Aik Guan “Frankie” Lim and Scott Thomas Low, the directors and founders of FS Financial Strategies Inc. and related companies in the FS insurance group, dishonestly raised over $47 million between 2012 and 2017 by failing to disclose to investors that the company wasn’t profitable, its financial situation was deteriorating, and it survived by raising money from investors to cover its expenses.

The notice says that Darrell Wayne Wiebe, the company’s general manager, was aware of the FS insurance group’s true financial condition and contributed to the fraud by routinely advising Lim and Low how much the company needed to raise from investors to stay afloat.

The BCSC says investors were promised interest payments of 10 per cent to 12 per cent, payable monthly. Lim and Low “created an illusion of profitability” by opening new offices in rapid succession; donating money to charities; telling customers that they planned to take the insurance group public; and hosting parties for clients and staff at expensive hotels.

The notice of hearing names six additional people – Chun Ying “Jim” PanChung-Sheng “Johnson” KaoGeorge LayGagan Deep BachraChi Kay “Dixon” Wong and Meng Cher “Philip” Tsai who were appointed by Lim and Low as directors of related companies in the FS insurance group that also sold the unsecured loans. The related companies are alleged to have sold securities without a prospectus and without being registered to do so.

The BCSC alleges that Lim and Low, in addition to committing fraud, selling securities without a prospectus and selling securities without being registered, also violated the B.C. Securities Act by continuing to trade and sell securities after making a legal promise to the BCSC’s executive director, in 2014, that they would stop.

A hearing on the matter will be held Dec. 4, 2018 at 9:00 a.m., which all of the individuals named in the notice, or their counsel, have been invited to attend.

The notice of hearing can be viewed on the BCSC’s website, www.bcsc.bc.ca, by typing the names of any of the respondents or 2018 BCSECCOM 330 in the search box. Information about disciplinary proceedings can be found in the Enforcement section of the BCSC website.

Please visit the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) Disciplined List for information relating to persons and companies disciplined by provincial securities regulators, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada(IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA).

About the British Columbia Securities Commission (www.bcsc.bc.ca)

The British Columbia Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia through the administration of the Securities Act. Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest by fostering:

  • A securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence
  • A dynamic and competitive securities industry that provides investment opportunities and access to capital

Learn how to protect yourself and become a more informed investor at www.investright.org

SOURCE British Columbia Securities Commission

BC Lawsuit For Alberta Car Crash Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, dismissing a BC lawsuit on grounds that it had no jurisdiction over an Alberta based collision claim.

In today’s case (Brooks v. Leithoff) the Plaintiff was involved in a total of 5 collisions.  Four of the five occured in BC.  The third occured in Alberta.  The Plaintiff sued the Alberta motorist in BC alleging the crashes all gave rise to a single indivisible injury.

The Defendant sought to have the claim dismissed on the basis that there was no connection to BC to the crash.  The Court agreed with the Defendant and dismissed the lawsuit.  In doing so and finding the claim should have been filed in Alberta Madam Justice Power provided the following reasons:

[49]         When I consider the plaintiff’s arguments, I am not persuaded that the facts that the plaintiff points to are sufficient to displace what I view to be the clear weight of case law in British Columbia:  neither the plaintiff’s residency in British Columbia, nor the fact of indivisible injuries, nor the fact that the plaintiff is suffering ongoing damages in British Columbia, are, by themselves, sufficient to establish a clear and substantial connection to British Columbia.  When these three elements are combined, do these elements together then prove sufficient to ground jurisdiction?  I cannot conclude that they do.

[50]         During the course of argument, the plaintiff fairly conceded that some of the plaintiff’s arguments related to forums conveniens, which is not something I should take into account at this stage.  The plaintiff may have to mount two separate trials on substantially the same evidence as a result of this ruling, but again, that is not a factor I should take into when determining whether jurisdiction has been established.

[51]         During arguments, counsel for the plaintiff also suggested that if I did not accept that there was jurisdiction under s. 3(e) of the CJPTA, I could nevertheless exercise my residual discretion under s. 6 of the Act to find that this Court has jurisdiction.

[52]         In my view, this argument must fail because the exercise of discretion under s. 6 requires that either a) there is no court outside British Columbia in which the plaintiff can commence the proceeding, or b) that the commencement of the proceeding in a court outside British Columbia cannot reasonably be required.  The fact that the plaintiff has already commenced an action in Alberta leads me to conclude that it is open to the plaintiff to continue litigation of this matter in that jurisdiction.

[53]         During the arguments before me, counsel for the plaintiff also pointed to concerns relating to fairness, and the practical difficulties that Ms. Brooks would face in bringing two separate but essentially identical claims in two separate jurisdictions.  While I appreciate these practical difficulties, there are times when appeals to fairness in the law must yield to the demands for clarity and order in the law.  The words of Mr. Justice La Forest in Tolofson v. Jensen, [1994] 3 S.C.R. 1022 at 1058, although made in a somewhat different context, are nevertheless applicable here:

While, no doubt … the underlying principles of private international law are order and fairness, order comes first.  Order is a precondition to justice.

[54]         Overall, it is my view that the weight of the case law clearly establishes that the facts here are not sufficient to establish a real and substantial connection to British Columbia.

[55]         In the result, the defendant’s application to strike and dismiss the plaintiff’s claim for want of jurisdiction in British Columbia is granted.

 

Accident victims pursue $600 million in lawsuits

Written By Aidan Macnab | Law Times

Six Ontario automobile insurers have been named in a series of class-action lawsuits by accident victims who are seeking millions in benefits they say they were denied because the insurer improperly subtracted the harmonized sales tax from their benefits packages.

Lawyers for the class members are seeking an injunction to have the insurance companies cease subtracting the HST from payable benefits. They are also asking the court for a damages assessment to have the insurance companies pay back to injured claimants the HST they charged them since 2010, when the tax was introduced. They are asking for punitive damages as well.

Six insurers are named in the suit: Aviva Insurance Company of CanadaIntact Insurance CompanyCertas Home and Automobile Insurance Company, Belair Insurance Company Inc.Allstate Insurance Company of Canada and Unifund Assurance Company.

The claim also accuses the Financial Services Commission of Ontario of turning a blind eye to the practice of the insurers after they were notified that their policies regarding the HST were not being followed properly.

Acting for the insurance claimants is Paul Harte of Harte Law PC, Kevin Kemp of Kemp Law PC in Alliston, Ont. and Jay Ralston of Murray Ralston PC in Barrie, Ont.

Harte says that, aside from the class-action lawsuits, the issue will require a response from the provincial government. He says it is a widespread industry practice and they are still investigating in order to add insurers to their list.

“You cannot sell auto insurance in this province without a licence from FSCO,” Harte says. “So, if the government wanted to stop this practice, they could stop it immediately by directing FSCO to take disciplinary action against the insurance companies that continue this practice and ultimately threaten their licence to sell insurance.”

NDP member Gurratan Singh has expressed interest in the issue, says Harte, but he has not heard anything from the Liberals or Progressive Conservative Party.

“We certainly hope that the new government has a lot more concern for the little guy — the small individual that’s injured in these accidents, because there are over 60,000 a year in the province that are injured,” says Ralston. The six claimants have claimed “general, special and aggravated damages” of $100 million each, for “personal injury costs and economic loss,” which would total $600 million.

According to an email from Teri Lehmann of Intact Insurance Company, which was part of a media brief provided by lawyers for the class action claimants, Intact modified its system so that HST no longer comes out of its customers’ benefits.

Ralston says Belair has also reimbursed some of its customers who were charged the HST.

In 2016, on behalf of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, then-president Adam Wagman wrote to CEO and superintendent of the FSCO, Brian Mills, to alert him of the practice by insurers regarding the HST.

Ronald Bohm, president of the OTLA, says that prior to that, members raised the issue within the OTLA.

“While individually they were often small amounts, it seemed like it was wrong and it ought not to have been taking place,” he says. “So, once we looked into it a little bit, [we] realized that the concerns were well founded.”

Bohm says the FSCO told the OTLA it was aware insurers had been misapplying the HST, that it had contacted them and those insurers had ensured the regulator they would not subtract the HST from benefits in the future.

In two 2017 decisions from the Ontario Licence Appeal Tribunal, Aviva was forced to pay the HST for injury claimants. In another Licence Appeal Tribunal decision between an injured claimant and the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, adjudicator Ian Maedel wrote, “It has long been FSCO’s policy that H.S.T. is payable in addition to any rehabilitation benefit.”

Responding to a request for comment, Aviva said via email that it is seeking clarification from the government on how the tax is applied to its customers.

“In fact, this is part of our commitment to continually explore ways to reduce or eliminate complexity for them and to increase trust in the insurance industry overall. We exist to help our customers in their time of need,” says Aviva Canada spokesman Fabrice de Dongo.

As the issue is before the courts, it is inappropriate to comment on the details, says de Dongo. In an emailed statement, Sarah Kennedy, director of corporate communications for Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, which controls Unifund Assurance company, said, “As this matter is before the court, we cannot provide comment.”

Certas Home and Automobile Insurance Company is controlled by Desjardins. Its spokesman,  John Bordignon, said via email that the company was “unable to comment further.” Intact Insurance Company, Belair Insurance Company Inc. and Allstate Insurance Company of Canada could not immediately provide comment.

Malon Edwards, senior communications officer for the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, said via email, “FSCO is aware of the statements of claim involving FSCO. As the matter is before the courts, FSCO is unable to comment further.”

Only 1.4 per cent of Canadians buy travel insurance for short trips

CTVNews.ca Staff

With Black Friday approaching, many Canadians will be getting ready to head across the border in search of deals.

But a quick day trip could turn into financial disaster, with even a minor accident or illness leaving travelers with bills that can cost thousands of dollars.

According to data from Allianz Global Assistance Canada, only 1.4 per cent of single-trip policies purchased by Canadians were for one or two-day trips.

That’s in spite of 78 per cent of Canadians saying they were covered by some form of travel insurance on their last vacation, according to the company.

Allainz suggests there may be a coverage gap, with Canadians not considering that they’re leaving themselves vulnerable on short cross-border trips.

Though provincial healthcare will cover a small percentage of medical expenses in the U.S., it doesn’t come close to covering the thousands of dollars that can be incurred.

“Just getting a few stitches in an American hospital could cost upwards of $3,000, or a sprained ankle around $2,000,” VP of Market Management Dan Keon said in a press release.

“More serious injuries requiring surgery or hospital stays, such as those resulting from auto collisions, will also increase medical costs considerably and possibly into the tens of thousands of dollars.”

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest