There is good news to report to anyone who has unjustifiably been denied access to any statutory accident benefit that they have applied for or has had to deal with a dispute over the determination of catastrophic impairment.
Most people reading this blog will be familiar with the dispute resolution procedure under the Insurance Act. Most people will recognize that the procedure is badly broken. Before a dispute can proceed to Court or to a binding Arbitration, a mediation must be held at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. If the mediator is unable to resolve the dispute, only then are you able to proceed to a final determination of the issue. The difficulty is that mediations are being scheduled more than a year from the filing of an application in many instances.
Now for the good news. Justice Sloan ruled on February 8, 2012 in the case of Cornie v. Security National, that section 19 of the Dispute Resolution Practice Code requires FSCO to conduct a mediation within 60 days of the filing of the Application. If FSCO is unable to schedule a hearing within this time frame, the mediation is deemed to have failed and the claimant can proceed to a final determination.
In rejecting the defence arguments in the case, Justice Sloan says “The insurance companies take the position that the accident victims must simply wait. To entertain this argument could mean that an accident victim might have to wait 100, 300 or 500 days for mediation. I find that submission preposterous.”