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Impending Changes to ICBC in 2017: Demanding Consultation, Protecting Civil Rights

DBM Law Blog

There is indication that drastic changes to the way ICBC is set up will be brought into effect as soon as next year—without consultation with outside legal experts or members of the public. The change, which will see ICBC go from a tort system to a no-fault system, is to be brought in as a way to address ICBC’s financial woes. This will work by both reducing the number of settlements ICBC hands out and putting a significant cap on the amount car accident victims will be able to receive.
This costs savings will be achieved, most pertinently, by removing the right of car accident victims to take their claim to a court of law. A no-fault system results in savings for the insurance company because the benefits they must pay out are significantly reduced than in a system where the right of personal injury sufferers to sue for damages is upheld.
You as a British Columbia citizen can contact your MLA and ask the government to have consultation on this potential change to your legal rights.
The history of the no-fault system in British Columbia
When this type of no-fault system was previously proposed in British Columbia in the 1990s, non-governmental legal experts, the public at large, and advocacy groups such as the Coalition Against No-Fault in BC (CANF) had opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions. Ultimately, the government did not implement the change, and ICBC’s liability/tort system was upheld.
This time around, one major difference is that it appears this change to ICBC may occur without any opportunity for outside consultation at all. This lack of consultation is cause for concern because a switch to a no-fault system will drastically affect the civil rights of car accident victims in British Columbia, through the stripping of tort rights and the ability for victims to take their case to court.
With such major changes to our legal rights under consideration, consultation with legal experts and the public is imperative. As advocacy groups such as CANF outlined in the 1990s, a no-fault system favours the interests of the insurance company by allowing them to pre-determine how much compensation personal injury sufferers will receive, while the victim has no ability to challenge the ruling or amount paid out by ICBC, much like how the Workers Compensation Board in British Columbia currently works.
Under a no-fault system, insurance holders can normally expect to pay the same premiums as before, meaning that any savings ICBC receives will not be passed along to the public.
Voice your concerns to your MLA
British Columbia’s citizens need opportunity to voice their concerns and to ensure fairness for everyone affected by any proposed changes to the way our provincial automobile insurer operates. No ability to consult on proposed changes means no ability to make sure citizens’ civil rights are upheld and respected.
All insurance policy holders in British Columbia—which means any vehicle owner or driver licence holder—should be concerned about the possibility that a no-fault system for ICBC will be implemented without any consultation.
Voters can voice their concerns by getting in touch with their local MLAs and inquiring whether or not the government intends to introduce consultations. You can find your MLA here:


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