In O’Connell v.Personal Insurance Co., (2014 ONSC 1469 (S.C.J.), the insured let his girlfriend borrow his motor vehicle. The insured’s girlfriend was involved in an accident. It turned out that the insured’s girlfriend only had a G1 license and therefore she was not authorized to drive alone or on a 400 series highway, where the accident occurred. The insured stated that he had assumed his girlfriend had a full license. At trial, the insured’s girlfriend testified that she had not told the plaintiff that she did not had have a full license because she was embarrassed. The insurer denied a defence and indemnity on the bases that the insured had breached statutory condition 4(1) of the Ontario Regulation 777/93 and section 1.4.5 of the OAP, by allowing someone else to drive his vehicle when they are not authorized to do so.
The court held that the insured had not “permitted” his girlfriend to drive when she was not authorized to do so. In reaching this conclusion, the court held that the test to determine whether an insured permitted the use of their vehicle by an unauthorized driver is whether the insured took all reasonable and prudent precautions to see that the statutory condition was not contravened. The court held that the insured knew his girlfriend had a driver`s license and it looked the same has his full G license, he had heard her anecdotes involving driving in the past and she had never told him that she only had a G1 license. Given this, the court held that the insured acted as reasonably and prudently as an average individual in similar circumstances, the statutory condition was not breached and the insurer was bound to defend and indemnify the insured.