Austin Benson v. Belair Insurance Co. Inc., 2018 ONSC 2297 (CanLII)

In this Divisional Court decision, a three-judge panel considered whether the applicant was entitled to Statutory Accident Benefits after being involved in an ATV accident while in British Columbia (“BC”).    

Date Heard: April 9, 2018 | Full Decision [PDF]

The applicant was a resident of Ontario. He was injured while riding in ATV in BC. The ATV was owned by a resident of BC and was not insured, since there was no requirement that an ATV be insured in BC.

At the time of the accident, the applicant had his own standard OAP-1 policy with Belair Insurance Co. (“Belair”) in Ontario. The policy did not explicitly include coverage for ATVs.

The applicant applied for Statutory Accident Benefits from Belair and was denied coverage on the basis that an ATV was not an “automobile” within the meaning of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Effective September 1, 2010 (“the SABS”) as the ATV was not insured and was not required to be insured.

The applicant filed a dispute with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (“FSCO”). The Arbitrator found the ATV was not an automobile and that the applicant was not entitled to benefits. The Applicant appealed the finding to the Director’s Delegate, who dismissed the appeal. The applicant applied to the Divisional Court for judicial review.

The Divisional Court dismissed the application for judicial review. Justice Thorburn, writing for a unanimous panel, noted that, in order to be entitled to benefits, the applicant must establish that he was in an automobile accident within the meaning of the SABS. Justice Thornburn further noted that the word automobile has no common meaning and that the word was not defined in the Belair policy or the SABS. She noted it was defined in the Ontario Insurance Act as a “motor vehicle required under any Act to be insured under a motor vehicle liability insurance policy.”

Justice Thornburn noted that an ATV is required to be insured in Ontario but not in BC. As the accident occurred in BC and the ATV was owned by a BC resident, she concluded that the BC legislation prevailed over the Ontario legislation and that the ATV was not an “automobile” for the purposes of the SABS.

 

Read the full decision [PDF]
Liane Shepley
Written by

Liane first joined Oatley Vigmond as a law student and later joined the team as an Associate Lawyer after her call to the bar. She holds a JD from the University of Windsor and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Guelph.

Liane is committed to representing individuals who have suffered serious personal injuries and to families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Her practice concentrates on personal injury law, including accident benefits, motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, occupiers’ liability, product liability and wrongful death cases.

When Liane isn’t practicing personal injury law, she enjoys working out and spending time with family and friends.