Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivers the provincial budget as Premier Kathleen Wynne looks on at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Thursday, April 23, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Dealing another blow to Plaintiffs, on August 1, 2015, the amendments to Ontario Regulation 461/96, Court Proceedings for Automobile Accidents that Occur on or After November 1, 1996, came into effect. These amendments provide for an inflation-indexed deductible to apply to awards for pain and suffering and loss of care, guidance and companionship.
Until now, a $30,000 deductible applied to all awards for pain and suffering below $100,000. A $15,000 deductible applied to all awards to family members for loss of care, guidance and companionship, where the award is less than $50,000.
Thanks to changes proposed by the Ontario government during the most recent budget, the deductible amounts will now be indexed to reflect the effects of inflation since 2003. The Building Ontario Up Act (Budget Measures), 2015 came into force on August 1, 2015, revoking section 5.1 of the Regulation. The following is substituted:
Similarly, the $15,000 deductible for Family Law Act awards will also be indexed, according to the following amendment to s.5.1 of the Regulation:
Moreover, in the case of pain and suffering awards, the $100,000 monetary threshold beyond which the deductible will not apply has been increased to $121,799 for the period of August 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, and is to be inflation-indexed each year. The $50,000 monetary threshold for the vanishing deductible in the case of Family Law Act claims has similarly gone up to $60,899, and will be adjusted each year.
While it is not clear whether the amendments will have retroactive application to lawsuits that have been commenced but not yet resolved, the fact that the deductible will be adjusted on January 1 of each year suggests that it is the year the motor vehicle accident occurs that will determine the amount of the deductible. It remains to be seen, however, how the new provisions will be applied to existing actions or in regards to motor vehicle accidents that have already occurred but have not yet been litigated.
The link to the FSCO Bulletin, announcing this amendment as well as other amendments to the Insurance Act, can be found here.