March 24, 2020
British Columbians can now extend their expiring driver’s licence remotely, as ICBC adapts driver licensing measures to assist customers to stay home and follow public health orders on physical distancing and further protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A customer can renew their driver’s licence up to six weeks in advance of the expiry date by contacting ICBC’s Driver Licensing Call Centre at 1-800-950-1498 and temporarily extend their driver’s licence over the phone. The customer will be mailed an interim paper licence that will be valid for 90 days. Eligible extensions include routine renewals, reinstatement of a licence, and the replacement of a lost licence. Expiring BC Services Cards and BC Identification Cards are not eligible for phone renewals. ICBC will monitor the situation and determine whether the 90-day period needs to be extended further.
In addition to this change, ICBC is now offering customers the option to defer their monthly insurance payments for up to 90 days with no penalty, to support those facing financial hardship at this time. This deferral will be available to customers already on monthly Autoplan payments for up to 90 days. ICBC previously allowed for only a single deferral of 30 days.
Customers can use ICBC’s online resource tool to apply for deferrals or call the customer support team at 1-800-665-6442.
ICBC is also taking further measures to ensure physical distancing requirements to protect customers and employees, as mandated by the Provincial Health Officer. Starting immediately, the following services will only be offered online at icbc.com or through the call centre until further notice:
- Obtaining driving records/abstracts
- Change of address
- Paying violation tickets
Enhanced Driver’s Licence (EDL) and Enhanced Identification Card (EIC) processing has been suspended as of March 24, 2020, as those transactions require extended face-to-face interaction where physical distancing guidelines cannot be met.
To further meet physical distancing requirements, all driver knowledge tests will be suspended indefinitely, for motorcycle and passenger vehicles, unless there is a legal requirement to obtain a licence (e.g. new resident to B.C.). Commercial vehicle knowledge tests will continue; however, they will not be permitted with the use of a translator as physical distancing requirements cannot be met. Over the coming weeks, ICBC will be working on finding ways to provide knowledge tests without the need for an in-office visit.
We ask that customers only attend a driver licensing office if their transaction is urgent and cannot be done by phone or online, and if they are not showing symptoms.
For additional information on measures taken during COVID-19:
Canada’s largest oil and gas company said it would cut its capital program this year by 26% as it tries to outlast the plunge in crude prices.
Suncor Inc. will lower its capital program by C$1.5 billion ($1 billion) this year to between C$3.9 billion and C$4.5 billion, the company said in a statement. It will also reduce operating expenditures by C$1 billion from C$11.2 billion in 2019, and is adjusting refinery utilization because of the drop in fuel demand. The company is also delaying its target of C$2 billion of incremental free funds flow by two years to 2025.
Suncor’s cuts follow $4.4 billion in reductions already announced by other companies in the nation. Canada has been particularly hard hit by the oil crash, as pipeline constraints force steep price discounts even beyond the drop in global benchmark prices. Workers in the remote oil-sands region in Alberta are also bracing for potential outbreaks of the coronavirus.
“The simultaneous supply and demand shocks are having a significant impact on the global oil industry,” Mark Little, Suncor’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “We are adjusting our spending and operational plans to be prepared in the event the current business environment persists for an extended period of time.”
The company’s full-year production outlook is 740,000 to 780,000 barrels a day, compared with about 743,000 in the first quarter. That includes an increase in bitumen output offset by lower production expected from Fort Hills, where the partners are reducing it to a one-train operation to increase cash flow, according to the statement.
The Syncrude annual coker turnaround is being deferred from the second quarter to the third, while MacKay River’s return to operations has been intentionally extended to May because of the virus and low prices. The company is also seeking options for its project to extend the life of the Terra Nova floating production vessel as Spain is no longer able to accommodate a dry dock slot.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us carry out our daily activities. Many brokers in Canada are now working remotely from home and many of you are also in the midst of preparing for your CAIB (Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker) examinations.
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Todd appreciates all the loyal support he has received over the past years and would like to return the gesture now by helping students with their online CAIB studies during the COVID-19 crisis.
Once enrolled in an ILScorp online CAIB exam preparation course, you too will receive free telephone tutoring with instructor Todd Hochban.
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Edited for ILSTV
By Jordan Press
THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA _ Federal officials are looking at ways to get money to community housing providers and the nation’s renters, who may be hit hardest by the economic shock caused by COVID-19, and warning anyone already receiving housing funding to refrain from evictions.
Providers that have federal funding agreements are being told they won’t see cuts to their financial help from Ottawa as deals expire in the coming weeks, said a government source who was not authorized to speak publicly about the measures.
Officials are considering a financial backstop for other providers so they can cover operating costs if tenants can’t pay rent as a result of COVID-19, said a source with knowledge of the discussions, who asked for anonymity to detail private conversations.
Another government source who was not authorized to detail behind-the-scenes talks said there is an ongoing push with at least six provinces to quickly sign up for a new rent supplement to avoid evictions for hundreds of thousands of households who rent.
For most of the efforts underway, the results will take time to unfold. So the Liberals are emphasizing the measures they expect to get approved Tuesday when the government asks the opposition parties to rapidly approve a $27-billion spending package, with a further $55 billion in tax breaks and available credit.
The Senate is scheduled to deal with the legislation on Wednesday.
“We know that there are significant pressures on Canadians right across the country who are facing bills coming in, who are facing pressures on caring for their families,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday when asked about the situation facing renters.
“That is why we are working extremely quickly to get money out the door and into the pockets of Canadians during this extraordinary time.”
Research from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said just under half of renters in this country, or 1.6 million households, might have only enough money saved in the bank to pay their bills for a month or less. A further quarter, roughly 830,000 households, don’t have enough income to get through a single week without pay, says an analysis released Monday.
The report argues that the federal spending help, which will hit households in weeks, may come too late for many renters.
COVID-19 has produced a rapid downshift in the economy as businesses are forced to close and Canadians asked to stay home, which has led to a sharp drop in consumer spending and a sharp jump in claims for employment insurance benefits. Last week alone, the government received 500,000 new EI claims.
Many people who file for employment insurance are able to find new jobs before very long, in normal times. But the Conference Board of Canada estimated in a report of its own Monday that the economy could shed more than 330,000 jobs between April and October, which would raise the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent.
Many of the hardest-hit sectors employ many of the nation’s renters or those who live in subsidized housing.
Jeff Morrison, president of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, said federal income-support measures need to get out the door as quickly as possible, while private landlords need to demonstrate some flexibility by allowing rent deferrals.
“For non-profit providers, I’m confident they will not evict, but for them the question becomes how can they pay their bills and keep their lights on,” he said. “In the worst-case scenario, you may see foreclosures and that contributes to homelessness.”
NDP housing critic Jenny Kwan, in a letter to the cabinet committee overseeing the government’s response to COVID-19, asked for a nationwide moratorium on all evictions _ as Ontario has done _ and on rent increases. That would require provinces to issue such orders.
“The situation is incredibly serious and people shouldn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over their heads in the middle of a public health emergency,” she said.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which administers much of the federal government’s national housing strategy, said in a note to clients on Monday that any organization it funds should suspend evictions until the situation improves.
The government is also asking private landlords to “exercise compassion and refrain from evictions,” said the minister who oversees federal housing efforts.
“CMHC is also working with landlords and housing providers affected by COVID-19 to find appropriate solutions for them,” Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement.
“We expect any housing provider who has received financing or support from CMHC, directly or via provinces and territories, to act compassionately and refrain from eviction.”
ICBC and the Provincial government have been working overtime trying to persuade British Columbians that stripping collision victims of the right to go to court to be fairly paid for their injuries is a good idea. They claim that by taking away these rights ICBC will treat victims fairly under a so-called ‘care based’ model.
Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating that ICBC can be anything but fair when it comes to meeting their obligations to pay for long term injury treatments.
In today’s case (Del Bianco v. Yang) the Plaintiff sustained life long injuries in a collision. At trial he was awarded damages which included payment for future care for massage therapy and kinesiology. Despite being ordered to pay this money ICBC refused saying they will pay that portion of the judgement from the Plaintiff’s ‘no fault’ insurance with them over the years as the treatments are incurred. An ICBC adjuster swore an affidavit declaring payments would be made.
The Court did not accept that ICBC would make payments, however, noting that they refused to pay the mandated no-fault benefits in the years prior to trial leaving little confidence that they would fairly meet their future obligations. In refusing to deduct the vast majority of the awarded future care costs Mr. Justice Groves provided the following criticism of ICBC’s handling of the claim and their unexplained “failure” to pay past benefits they were obliged to:
 It is concerning to the court that the representative of ICBC, Andrew Rudkowski, has not, in his affidavit, explained the failure of ICBC prior to trial to pay the massage therapy costs of the plaintiff. Liability for these motor vehicle accidents was never seriously in dispute. The injuries that required massage therapy, therapy that was necessary for Mr. Del Bianco to work, and effectively minimalize the extent of his tort claim, were lower back, shoulder and soft tissue injuries.
 Equally concerning is the apparent exaggeration, even today, less than one year into a potentially 40-year commitment, as to the extent of ICBC’s commitment to pay what was ordered after trial. In paragraph 6, Andrew Rudkowski deposes that “ICBC will reimburse Mr. Del Bianco for the necessary health care services he has incurred since March 22, 2019 and he incurs in the future”. That is, as noted by defence counsel, not true. They will only reimburse under their payment schedule of $80, when the court determined on the evidence the cost of such treatment at $85.
 Counsel for the plaintiff ably argued about the difficult financial circumstances that his injury and the actions of ICBC placed on the plaintiff from the time of the accident until, essentially, the time of this application. For whatever reason, unexplained, ICBC refused to pay for his massage therapy treatments. The suggestion from counsel for the plaintiff was that ICBC took the position that because he had a hernia operation after the accident, not related to the injuries suffered in the accident, that the hernia problem was the source of his discomfort. That, to a great degree, defies logic, as the hernia was, for lack of a better term, in the plaintiff’s groin or abdomen, whereas the soft tissue injuries requiring massage were in his back.
 The court is faced with the representations of a claims specialist from ICBC that they will, in the future, pay these costs. The evidence about the lack of financial viability of ICBC, as attested to by the Cabinet Minister responsible for ICBC, the Attorney General, is not significantly disputed. Nor is it disputed that ICBC is not prepared to pay for massage therapy at a rate that the court has ordered.
 Additionally, and though this was not raised by counsel, but is a concern to the court, it is hard to know and predict, dare I say impossible to know and predict, at what rate ICBC will, in the future, be paying for massage therapy costs. This is not just a short-term future. This is 40 years. If, as now, this would require the plaintiff to pay the difference himself, to pay over and above what ICBC is prepared to pay, when the tort award was intended to fully compensate him. He may perhaps then seek reimbursement from ICBC. This creates a 40-year responsibility on this plaintiff to keep track of receipts, to make requests and deal with adjusters at ICBC. That is completely inconsistent with the general purpose of litigation and tort awards, to create some finality between the parties.
 In light of the history of non-payment by ICBC for no apparent reason, as experienced by the plaintiff, it is unrealistic, in my view, to require him for a period of 40 years, to have to continue to deal with an adjuster at ICBC in order to obtain what the court has already ordered he is entitled to.
 Additionally, as noted by the plaintiff, there is just too much uncertainty as to the ability of ICBC to make the payments at a rate ordered by the court. They are, today, not prepared to pay at the rate the court ordered. There is too much uncertainty related to their past history of being disinterested or disrespectful of the plaintiff’s claims. There is too much uncertainty as to what the future holds for ICBC, as evidenced by the affidavit of the plaintiff, for the court to have absolute confidence that if money is deducted from the tort award for Part 7 scheduled benefits, that they will actually be paid.
 I note the case of Li v. Newson, 2012 BCSC 675, a decision of Mr. Justice Abrioux, as he then was. He notes in para. 14, inter alia, that “uncertainty as to whether a Part 7 benefit will be paid must be resolved in favour of the plaintiff”. I find on the facts before me considerable uncertainty that payments consistent with the tort award would be paid to Mr. Del Bianco for massage therapy for the 40 years as awarded.
 As such, I am not prepared to deduct amounts for massage therapy under s. 83 from the plaintiff’s tort award. These comments relate to the massage therapy treatments to age 65 and the massage therapy treatments from age 65 to age 75. There is, as noted above, in the circumstances of a 40-year payment period, too much uncertainty and, frankly, too much of a requirement placed on this plaintiff to potentially request reimbursement weekly for funds not paid directly by ICBC, but payable out of his pocket. That is simply too much to expect.
The excerpted article was written by CBC News
ICBC is moving transactions like auto insurance renewals online and over the phone as a way to avoid in-person contact during the spread of COVID-19.
Even though auto insurance services are no longer open at many ICBC offices, driving uninsured won’t fly.
“There is no reason [or] excuse people cannot renew their insurance,” said Cpl. Mike Halskov, with BC RCMP Traffic Services.
“If one fails to renew their insurance when due and continues to drive or is involved in a collision, they are subject to a violation ticket or, in the event of a crash, may not be insured.”
ICBC says to call an Autoplan broker to renew insurance, change a policy or other service. Drivers should give themselves extra time, as transactions may take longer than usual.
After insuring a vehicle, usually the driver is given an update decal to stick on their license with the new expiry date. Those will either be mailed out or can be picked up from an open office, a spokesperson with ICBC said.
Drivers pulled over for having an expired decal will need to show proof of valid insurance regardless of their sticker.
“If a person renews their insurance over the phone and does not receive a new decal right away, police can still determine whether or not a vehicle is insured, even if the decal on the plate is not current,” Halskov said.
Some brokers are still open for transactions that can’t be done over the phone, like vehicle registrations and new policies.
All road tests are suspended for at least the next two weeks but driving licensing offices are still open as usual for license renewals.
On its website, ICBC says customers who show up at an ICBC licencing office will be asked questions to screen for COVID-19, and it’s limited how many people enter the offices so it can ensure social distancing.