Once COVID-19 hit full force this spring, Toronto residents Michael Schneider and his wife, Debra, cancelled their plans to see their grandchildren in Calgary and Atlanta, Ga.
While the Canada-U.S. border is still closed to non-essential travel, the Schneiders were able to reschedule their Calgary visit for late July. Along with their airline tickets, they made sure to purchase interprovincial travel insurance.
“We were concerned because of COVID, since we’re retired and no longer have insurance through work,” said Schneider.
They had purchased their tickets with a credit card, so Schneider first checked to see if the medical insurance the card provided included coverage for COVID-19. The bank that issued the card indicated it would, but Schneider wanted to be sure so he contacted the insurer directly and discovered that the bank was incorrect; COVID-19 wasn’t covered.
Interestingly, even prior to the pandemic, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) did not cover all out-of-province medical expenses, but it wasn’t something most travellers considered. According to the Ontario government’s website:
“When you show your valid Ontario health card in another Canadian province or territory, you will be covered for some of the same services you’re covered for in Ontario including:
- physician services (e.g. visit to a walk-in clinic)
- services provided in a public hospital (e.g. emergency, diagnostic, laboratory). Any service or treatment you receive in another Canadian province or territory must be medically necessary for it to be covered by OHIP.”
In response to the Star’s query about COVID-19 coverage, the Ministry of Health responded:
“In keeping with the requirements of the Canada Health Act, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan provides coverage for insured physician and insured hospital services when Ontario residents are temporarily in another province or territory or moving to another province or territory and serving an interprovincial waiting period before coverage takes effect. This coverage does not extend to other services such as ambulance transport, home care, prescription drugs, or additional services that may be funded when the patient is in Ontario.
“Reciprocal hospital billing arrangements exist between all provinces and territories to facilitate payment of these services. For insured physician services, all provinces and territories, except Quebec, participate in a reciprocal medical billing arrangement. If an insured Ontario resident is billed directly for an out-of-province hospital or physician service, they may submit the receipts to the ministry for consideration of reimbursement.”
Schneider and his wife decided to take no chances, especially in these uncertain times. They are members of the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), so they looked into CAA’s travel medical insurance and discovered that CAA offers a yearly plan for travel within Canada that includes COVID-19 coverage.
Elliott Silverstein, the director of government relations for CAA South Central Ontario, confirmed that their emergency medical coverage plan includes coverage for COVID-19. Orion Travel Insurance underwrites CAA policies nationwide, so wherever in Canada you purchase one, you obtain the same coverage.
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The motor vehicle accident season has arrived
You wouldn’t think the COVID-19 pandemic would have much of an impact on motor vehicle accidents given the stay-an-home measures being suggested across the province. However, the combination of warmer weather and loosening restrictions may have the opposite affect according to a motor vehicle accident personal injury lawyer.
“There are currently less people on the road,” suggests personal injury and disability lawyer Robert Deutschmann. “But as things open up, I think the general thought is that fewer people might want to take transit because of physical distancing. That might mean more people cycling or driving motor vehicles which means more traffic.”
Warm weather and a desire to isolate while on the road is also a catalyst for motorcycle riders to roll out their machines. Predictably, accidents involving motorcycles are already on the rise, with five motorcyclists killed in Ontario over the Victoria Day weekend. Surprisingly, the founder of Deutschmann Law says that motorcycle riders are not usually the ones to blame.
“People have the perception of motorcycle riders to be reckless, but most of them aren’t,” said Deutschmann, who’s firm has been providing personal injury law services in the area for over 25 years. “Most are middle age or upper age people who just want to enjoy the road. The problem is, much like bike riders, motorcycle riders or pedestrians, people driving cars are sometimes inattentive. Stats show almost two-thirds of accidents involving motorcycles are caused by drivers not seeing the motorcycle.”
Overall, there were more than 53,000 collisions on OPP-patrolled roads in Ontario in 2019, with Fridays remaining the deadliest day on Ontario roads as people rush home or to get away for the weekend. As a result, the number of injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents continue to climb annually, and that’s often a problem for victims who assume bringing a claim for injury is a simple process.
“Anytime you’ve been in an accident, the general advice is to call a personal injury lawyer to find out what the rules are with respect to bringing claims for any injury as a result,” suggests Deutschmann. “The truth is, however, that it’s difficult to bring a claim for injuries from a motor vehicle accident in Ontario.”
Deutschmann says Ontario law concerning accidents states a claim for pain and suffering and future care needs can only be made if a victim suffers “permanent and serious impairment of a physical or psychological nature.” However, that definition requires some explanation.
“The key is permanent and serious,” explains Deutschmann. “What does serious mean? Generally, serious means substantially affecting your ability to work or substantially affecting your activities of daily living. Then you can bring a claim for pain and suffering and future care needs.”
Bringing a claim for income loss is not subject to a threshold, but is still difficult. However, Deutschmann suggests that no matter how minor your accident-related injury may be, it’s important to seek some legal counsel.
“If you’ve been in an accident that’s not your fault and you’re having difficulties, maybe not able to work to the same level you could before, it’s a good idea to check with a personal injury lawyer just to review what your rights are with respect to that accident,” he said.
The personal injury lawyers at Deutschmann Law operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no cost for a consultation or for legal services unless there is a settlement in your favour.
For more information, contact Deutschmann Law at 1-866-414-4874, serving Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford, Elmira, Guelph, Woodstock and surrounding areas.
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As British Columbians ramp up to enjoy the final weekend of summer holidays, drivers are encouraged to stay safe and stay alert when behind the wheel. ICBC anticipates as many as 2,000 crashes to occur this long weekend. About six people are killed and 520 people are injured every Labour Day long weekend.
Drivers should expect more volume on highways and roads with people taking their final summer road trip.
ICBC warns drivers to watch for drowsy drivers and to look out for symptoms of fatigue in themselves. According to drivers participating in a recent poll* by ICBC, more than half (55%) reported to being tired at least some of the time when travelling long distances.
Drowsiness can cause drivers to lose focus, slow their reaction time, impair their vision, and affect their ability to make good driving decisions.
How to protect yourself:
Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep to be well-rested and alert the next day.
Travel in the morning. Sleepiness can affect people throughout the day, but drivers are prone to drowsy driving in the late-afternoon and late at night when the body’s circadian rhythm dips.**
Take frequent breaks. Schedule a break at least once every two hours. Use this time to send an update to family and friends, or to check road conditions. There are currently two rest areas that have free Wi-Fi – the Britton Creek stop on the Coquihalla near Merritt, and the Glacier View rest area on Highway 16 near Smithers.
Share the driving with others. Split the responsibility to get to your destination safely with other drivers in your vehicle.
Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead by visiting drivebc.ca for the latest road conditions.
Labour Day crashes are calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.
By Jonathan Elderfield
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Your wedding is fast approaching and you have an un-blissfully long to-do list, from finalizing your flower selection to choosing your menu to deciding on your dress.
Near the top of that list you might want to put “select photographer.” That way, one of the most important parts of your wedding the memories will be preserved.
Think about booking your photographer soon after you have selected your venue, and make sure he or she is a good fit with your personality.
As a photographer with over 25 years of experience, including more than 50 weddings, I know the importance of selecting the right person. Not only will you be spending your entire day together, but the resulting photos will influence how you remember your wedding.
Look at potential photographers’ electronic portfolios, pricing and availability, and plan to meet several candidates to gauge their sensibility.
Below are five tips on choosing and working with a wedding photographer:
LOOK FOR DEPTH
Ask to see a complete portfolio from beginning to end for at least one or two weddings. You don’t want to see only a few “best” photos.
“It’s easy to show a bunch of terrific single images taken at many weddings,” says Radhika Chalasani, “but a great wedding photographer has to capture an entire wedding beautifully from start to finish.” The New York-based Chalasani has been photographing weddings since 2004.
Looking at portfolios will ensure that the photographer wasn’t just an assistant or a guest with a camera.
You can see how the photographer handles all parts of the wedding, including the preparations, ceremony, cocktails, portraits, speeches, dancing and cake-cutting.
GET A CONTRACT
A wedding photographer without a contract (and without liability insurance) is likely not a professional.
The contract should spell out what the photographer will provide, and whether the pictures will be on DVDs, an online gallery, a finished album, etc. It will include the hours worked, and what happens if you ask the photographer to work longer.
In addition, you want to know how things will be handled if the photographer becomes unable to work on the wedding day due to illness or injury. He or she should have a back-up.
The contract also should spell out the cost, the amount of any deposit and when the balance must be paid.
Small, casual weddings might not seem to require a contact, but having one will protect both you and the photographer.
DON’T BE SHY ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT
“There’s no harm in being specific,” says Chicago wedding photographer Candice C. Cusic, a photojournalist for 15 years and a teacher at Northwestern University.
Tell the photographer what the most important aspects of the day are to you, whether it’s exchanging rings or walking down the aisle.
“Brides should be realistic about their day and make every possible effort to help their photographer capture great imagery,” Cusic says. A bride or groom getting ready inside a messy hotel room, for instance, will not make for strong pictures, she notes.
MAKE SURE YOUR PERSONALITIES JIBE
Other than your significant other, the person with whom you’ll spend the most time on your wedding day might well be your photographer. He or she will be with you as you get ready and as you go through the emotional highs of the day. The photographer might guide you and your family through a portrait session, walk backward as you process up the aisle, and hang close by during your first dance.
So this person’s personality sense of humour, demeanour, even appearance should be a good fit with both of you.
Craig Warga, a New York-based wedding photographer, says “good photography happens when you can get close to your subjects, and they feel completely comfortable being natural and themselves in front of your lens. If you don’t like someone, you’re not going to have that level of comfort in front of them, and it will affect the pictures.”
If you like a sassy personality who will add some colour to your day, then by all means hire a vibrant, outgoing photographer who exudes energy. On the other hand, if you want a subtle documentary photographer who will capture important moments without being intrusive, go for someone who won’t talk loudly over you when you first meet, and who seems cool and composed.
The right photographer, says Warga, is someone who leaves you thinking, “it’d be nice to have that person as a guest at my wedding.”
SWEAT SOME DETAILS
Ask if the photographer has a full set of equipment: multiple bodies and lenses with back-ups.
Will he or she be working with an assistant or second photographer? If so, what is the additional cost and does that person need to be there all day?
If your venue will be dark, can the photographer handle it?
Is the photographer able to work in adverse conditions such as rain at an outdoor ceremony?
Finally, make provisions for your photographer to eat; it’s hard to be “on” for eight to 10 hours straight. A 15-minute meal break might just be the best thing you do for the photographer.
TORONTO, CNW – Young drivers in Ontario have plenty of gripes about other drivers on the road, and tempers could flare this summer as construction related delays add to driver frustration. According to the ingenie Road Rage Report, summer is the most infuriating driving season; 58% of young drivers are frustrated by construction related delays in the summer while only 18% are bothered by bad weather in the winter.
“Nobody likes traffic delays and cranky drivers can lead to conflict on the road. But, as a driver your top priority needs to be safety. It’s important not to let emotions get the best of you,” says Lorie Phair, CEO of ingenie Canada, a telematics based auto insurance provider for Ontario drivers aged 16 to 24. “Keep a cool head, and don’t let outside influences take over. Instead, concentrate on what you can control, which is your own driving.”
Results from the ingenie Road Rage Report
Young Ontario drivers name the top 5 annoying behaviours by other drivers as:
- Being rude on the road (81%)
- Using their phones (77%)
- Tailgating (74%)
- Failing to signal (73%)
- Braking suddenly (70%)
Tempers flare fast – even in the drive-thru
- What infuriates young drivers the most? City driving.
- The most frustrating settings for young drivers are city streets (82%), highways (47%) and parking lots (32%).
- Road rage isn’t always limited to the roads: 3% of young drivers admit they get frustrated with other drivers even in drive-thrus.
- 60% of young drivers are also irritated by cyclists who do not obey the rules of the road.
- One in five drivers (20%) surveyed admit their tempers flare faster when driving than in other settings.
Young drivers admit to bad behaviour
While Ontario drivers get mad at rude drivers, they don’t deny adding to the inhospitable environment on the road. Many admit they have taken frustration out on other drivers with behaviour such as:
- Beeping at other drivers (51%)
- Flashing their lights at other drivers (29%)
- Making offensive hand gestures at other drivers (14%)
- On the more extreme end, 5% of Ontario young drivers admit they have used their car to intimidate other drivers. In fact, 37% of young drivers rated their level of road rage to be medium to high.
“As a driver, you are responsible for controlling your own vehicle. It’s an important duty that requires your complete attention,” says Phair. “While you may become annoyed by other drivers’ bad habits, it’s not your responsibility to reprimand them. Don’t get emotional, just focus on the task at hand – arriving at your destination safely.”
ingenie offers the following six tips to help young drivers stay cool on the roads this summer:
- Plan your route in advance: If you know of one or two alternative routes, you can change course if you hit bad traffic.
- Leave early: It’s easier to stay calm when you aren’t worried about being late.
- Be considerate to other drivers: Be the change you would like to see on the road! Let someone merge ahead of you. Getting a smile or a ‘thank you’ for being considerate may restore your faith in other drivers.
- Get a good night’s sleep: We all get cranky when we’re tired. Not only do you need to be alert when you’re driving but getting enough sleep can help keep you calm behind the wheel.
- Don’t drive if you’re in a bad mood: A stressful day can contribute to road rage, so make sure you’re in a good head space before you take the wheel. Try putting on some relaxing music if you feel yourself becoming frustrated.
- Don’t let hungry turn to hangry: Be sure to stop along the route to eat something. This way you’ll manage frustration that hunger adds to driving and avoid getting hangry.
Take a 10 question quiz at https://www.ingenie.ca/keep-cool to rate your road rage and find out how well you keep your cool while driving. Follow the conversation about Road Rage online using the hashtag #keepcool.
ingenie is an innovative young driver insurance brand that uses telematics technology to reward safe driving with savings. ingenie builds a picture of a driver’s individual style, awareness and safety on the road, rewarding those who drive well with up to an extra 25% Good Driving Discount and helping those who need improvement become safer. ingenie was awarded the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2013, in recognition of its work to help make young drivers safer on the road. Among a number of industry awards, ingenie has won best start-up at the 2014 British Insurance Awards and insurance innovation of the year at the Insurance Times Awards. To learn more about ingenie, or to get an online quote, visit www.ingenie.ca or call 184-ingenie-1 (1-844-643-6431).
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About the ingenie Road Rage Report
Results are based on an online survey conducted for ingenie by Student Life Network between May 25 to May 26, 2015. A total of 604 interviews were collected from Ontario students who are licensed drivers.
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