Early mediation requirements buried under backlog

On Nov. 29, the Court of Appeal for Ontario confirmed that injured parties with disputes concerning statutory accident benefits (SABs) need not wait in a year-long backlog for mediation at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) before proceeding to court or arbitration to resolve their disputes.

While the decision in Corniev. Security National Co. (C.O.B. TD Meloche Monnex) [2012] O.J. No. 5602 will allow injured parties to proceed to court to attempt to obtain funding for the accident benefit entitlements they claim, it does nothing to put back into place the early mediation requirements of the Insurance Act that the Court of Appeal found were an integral part of the SABs legislation, and which FSCO has been failing for years to provide.

In its 2012 budget, the Ontario government proposed to engage in a review of the automobile insurance dispute resolution system. This review should make note of the concerns set out by the appeal court and the importance it placed on early effective mediation.

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This article originally appeared in the February 1st, 2013 issue of The Lawyers Weekly.

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