FAIR cries foul over Bill 171
06 May 2014
Some of the heavy hitters in the Ontario insurance scene made the pilgrimage to Queen’s Park to present their arguments for the passing of Bill 171 – but one group who was bumped at the last minute is crying foul.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario each sent delegations for hearings on Bill 171 – but one group, FAIR (Fair Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform), fired off a press release to express its displeasure at having its time slot pulled at the last minute.
“A generous 15 minutes to speak to the committee on the issues that affect the nine million drivers in Ontario and then we just don’t. Poof – it’s gone,” said Rhona DesRoches, FAIR board chair. “Only eight presenters, none of whom speak to the issues of Ontario’s accident victims.”
DesRoches explains that FAIR was told “late Monday afternoon” that there was a spot in the two hours that were allotted for only eight presenters on the changes contained in Bill 171 on Wednesday afternoon.
“With only 48 hours of notice we scrambled to make travel arrangements and a speech, galvanized our members to respond with their concerns – only to find out… that our appallingly short 15 minutes of presentation time had disappeared,” said DesRoches.
The Vice-President, Ontario of the IBC Ralph Palumbo, led a contingent of IBC representatives that included Barb Taylor, Ryan Stein and Lee Samis to present their case before the Standing Committee on Bill 171 last week. Others stating their case before the committee were Dr. Bob Haig, CEO of the Ontario Chiropractic Association; Eric K. Grossman of The Advocates’ Society; Larry Gold of the Fair Value Committee; Dorianne Sauve, CEO of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association; Craig Hirota of the Associated Canadian Car Rental Operators; Michael Mouritsen of the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario; and Arthur Lofsky and Debbie Thompson of the IBAO.
DesRoches continues that “it might be easier to think of those tens of thousands of people lined up at FSCO to have hearings as fakers and malingerers but the numbers don’t lie, they are a reflection of a broken system and not a reflection of rampant fraud in the system.
“It’s 2003 all over again, as one government exits, they take a moment to put the boots to some very vulnerable people. In 2003 it was Ernie Eves with Ontario Regulation 237/13 slashing benefits on the eve of an election. And accident victims have been taking a beating ever since with promises of rate reductions that result in stripped coverage.”
DesRoches rhetorically asks what the shape of Ontario’s auto insurance will take with the passing of Bill 171.
“When does it end? When insurers finally get what they want, premium dollars and zero payments?” she asks. “We are only $3,500 away from zero in this attack on our public systems. We need to do something.”
By Donald Horne