This blog was prepared by Jennifer Stirton.
The Insurance Act has been amended by Bill 173, the Better Tomorrow for Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2011, which received Royal Assent on May 12, 2011.
The amendments relate to incidents involving public transit and make two major changes. First, owners and drivers of public transit vehicles are not protected by subsections 267.5(1), (3) and (5) of the Insurance Act, which provide threshold protections and limit income loss claims, if the public transit vehicle does not collide with another automobile or any other object in the incident. In other words, public transit drivers and owners are not protected defendants unless there is a collision. The second major change is the addition of subsection 268(1.1), which provides that occupants of public transit vehicles who are injured are not entitled to statutory accident benefits if the public transit vehicle does not collide with another automobile or any other object.
These changes are clearly aimed at passengers who allege injury arising from incidents that do not involve collisions, such as sudden start/sudden stop claims. While it will reduce the cost of accident benefits being paid, it may result in an increase in tort actions against defendants who are no longer entitled to statutory protections.