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January 28, 2016

Attendant Care Benefits Provided by Family Members

Section 2 of Ontario Regulation 347/13 came into force on February 1, 2014.  It provides that accident benefits for attendant care provided by a family member are limited to the family member's economic loss.  A recent case dealt with whether the provision should be applied retrospectively.  Justice Quinlan held that it should not.

In Davis v Wawanesa, 2015 ONSC 6624 (S.C.J.), the plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident in November 2013, before the Regulation came into force , but the claim for attendant care services was made after the Regulation was enacted.  It was the plaintiff's position that since she was involved in the accident prior to the date that the Regulation came into force, there should not be a cap on the attendant care benefits.

The parties differed in their positions as to whether or not Regulation 347/13 should apply retrospectively or prospectively. The Regulation is silent on the issue of whether it applies to accidents that occurred before its enactment. The court held that since the presumption against retrospectivity was not rebutted by clear, legislative intent, the law that applied was the law that was in force at the time of the accident. Thus, Section 2 of Ontario Regulation 347/13 did not apply and the attendant care benefits were not capped at the economic losses suffered by the attending family member.

The court accepted that attendant care benefits are a contractual right to which an injured person is entitled and the plaintiff had a vested right to payment of the attendant care benefit to which she was entitled on the date of her accident. Regulation 347/13 had a substantive impact on the plaintiff's right to attendant care benefits, so the court held that retrospectivity in this case would be undesirable. Since the Regulation interfered with the plaintiff's substantive rights, the court held that it should not apply retrospectively.  

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