Maia Bent was elected President of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) on May 22, 2015, at the association’s Annual General Meeting in Toronto. Ms. Bent has served on the association’s Board of Directors since 2008, and has been a member of its Executive Committee for the past three years. Ms. Bent will lead the organization during the 2015-16 year. Here is her inaugural blog post as the new OTLA President.
I am excited and thrilled to have been selected as President of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. I am equally thrilled to be leading this dynamic and forward looking organization of committed personal injury lawyers. We have come so far as an association but we are also at a critical juncture. The clients we represent are facing new attacks. Whether it’s insurance companies, municipalities or others, it’s clear that powerful interests are constantly working to undermine the rights of the injured and the vulnerable for their own narrow goals. We have an important role as advocates to stand up to the powerful and ensure that the victims’ voices are heard. We must be constantly vigilant in acting on their behalf.
When I appeared at the Standing committee hearings last week on the Budget Bill, I challenged the Liberal members in particular to reconsider the stance on the amendments dealing with auto insurance. I wanted them to know that we recognized that the government would not have had the benefit of the Lazar-Prisman research when the decisions were made concerning the budget. It’s clear from that research that auto insurance companies have been making too much money for too long and that the government has not demanded enough of insurers. They simply need to force insurers to merely lower their profit margins to a more reasonable level.
We even shared this information with senior officials before the budget was released, but instead of listening to the experts, the government has decided to listen to the insurance companies. As a result, the Ontario government is about to allow insurers to greatly profit at the direct expense of the most vulnerable.
There is still time to act and to convince the government to reconsider.
The budget bill has not yet passed. The changes to the regulations have not been finalized.
I invite you to join me in raising your own voice: tell your MPP to stand up for the rights of the injured. We need to send a strong message to elected officials and to the public.
We will be attending a rally on June 3 – next Wednesday – at 12:00 PM at Queen’s Park. Please join me at the rally and join me in this important cause.
Most importantly, click on truthaboutinsurance.ca and send a letter to your local MPP to register your opinion. With your help, we can put a stop to the frightening erosion of accident benefits.
Maia Bent is the newly elected OTLA President and a partner practicing at Lerners LLP.