In 2010, the Ontario Liberal government made legislative changes to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule set out in the Ontario Regulation 251/15. This change has allowed insurance companies to drastically slash the amount provided for attendant care benefits and medical rehabilitation benefits with respect to catastrophic and non-catastrophic victims of motor vehicle collisions. As a result, this leaves those suffering from severe injuries and their families to suffer to a greater degree and carry the burden alone. Furthermore, this leaves Ontario’s publicly-funded health care system to foot the bill.
This new legislative change further devastates our already inadequate system. The benefits previously available to those deemed catastrophic has been drastically reduced from one million dollars to two million dollars.
Non-catastrophic accident victims will suffer as well. The legislative change resulting in combining attendant care services and medical/rehabilitation benefits to a $65,000.00 dollar benefit. This is a vast decrease from a previous $86,000.00 dollar benefit.
In addition, non-earner benefits which are available to students, the unemployed, and the elderly have been limited to two years.
There have also been alterations to the definition that determines an injured individual’s entitlement to these said benefits. Such alterations include, the elimination of the Glasgow Coma Scale Test. The Glasgow Coma Scale Test is a reliable and objective way of determining an individual’s consciousness after a traumatic incident, such as a motor vehicle collision. The Glasgow Coma Scale Test is commonly used by emergency medical services, first aid responders, nurses, and doctors. Any new tests introduced by the legislation will create uncertainty and delays in the system. It will negatively impact the rehabilitation of accident victims.
The recent changes that the Ontario government has implemented will affect claims arising out of accidents that occur on or after June 1, 2016. Recovering from a serious injury is not simple. These changes will leave accident victims vulnerable, unprotected, and inadequately rehabilitated.