The Ontario government should establish a new organization that would perform the functions currently performed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO), an expert advisory panel said in a report released Monday.
The panel recommends that a new Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) be established, and it should exercise both prudential and market conduct functions. The panel – comprised of George Cooke, James Daw and Lawrence Ritchie – made its recommendation to create FSRA in an interim report released in November, 2015. The final report, dated March 31, was made public Monday and contains 44 recommendations.
The mandate review was partly made necessary with the transfer of responsibility for operating an auto insurance dispute resolution system from FSCO to Ministry of the Attorney General’s Licence Appeal Tribunal on April 1, 2016.
The report suggests that FSRA should consolidate functions, but it should have separate divisions for the regulation of market conduct; prudential oversight; and pension administration. These divisions of the regulator should operate in a coordinated manner, but each division should be insulated from the routine regulatory activities, pressures and resource demands of other divisions.
FSRA should be a self-funded corporation without share capital, operationally independent of government, yet accountable to the Legislature through the Minister of Finance. The FSRA should be outside of the Ontario Public Service and be empowered to hire its personnel from outside of the Ontario Public Service’s collective agreements, compensation restraints, and other hiring restraints to support its ability to recruit professionals and industry expertise as it deems necessary.
FSRA should have a skills-based Board of Directors appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Board would oversee FSRA’s operations and the Board should have the authority to appoint a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Board Chair should report directly to the Minister of Finance.
FSRA’s Board should be given authority to make rules that would be enforceable pursuant to the statute, having a similar authority as Cabinet Regulations.
Auto Insurance Rate Regulation
The panel did not make any recommendations with respect to the prior approval of auto insurance. However, it did recommend that FSRA’s Board should be obliged and empowered to decide how auto insurance rates are to be regulated and make use of its rule-making authority to scope out a rate approval process.
The view of the panel is that when it comes to the regulation of automobile insurance rates, FSCO is not ultimately protecting the public interest or enhancing confidence in the sector.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
The panel recommends that responsibility for operating the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) be transferred to the Facility Association (FA), a non-profit organization funded by automobile insurers in the provinces and territories that operate private insurance systems. This responsibility would fit well with the FA’s original purpose, which is to act as the ‘insurer of last resort’ for high-risk drivers. The FA already operates uninsured motorist funds similar to the MVACF in the Atlantic Provinces.
The panel indicated that the new mandate should require FSRA to utilize its statutory authorities to adequately, firmly and consistently discourage fraudulent activities or behaviours that mislead or harm consumers and pension plan beneficiaries.
FSRA should be directed to identify and seek to eliminate gaps in protection for consumers who might be defrauded by licensed sales agents, brokers and corporations. FSRA should also have the authority to establish a fraud compensation fund such as exists in Quebec if or where enhancements to mandatory insurance coverage would not fully close current gaps.
There is no word from the government on implementing the panel’s recommendations.
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Thank you for visiting my site throughout the year.Willie Handler
The Ministry of Finance has posted proposed changes to Insurance Act regulations to provide for the transition the Automobile Insurance Dispute Resolution System from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), and the wind down of disputes filed at FSCO.
Proposed amendments include:
• The last date for submitting applications for mediation, neutral evaluation, or the appointment of an arbitrator to FSCO will be March 31, 2016.
• An application for an appeal to the FSCO Director of Arbitrations will only be accepted where the application for the appointment of an arbitrator was received by March 31, 2016.
• As well, an applications for a variation or revocation to the FSCO Director of Arbitrations will only be accepted where the application for the appointment of an arbitrator was received by March 31, 2016.
• The Office of the Director of Arbitrations will continue to function until all notices of appeal and all applications for variation or revocation have been finally determined.
• Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) provisions that apply to the dispute resolution process at FSCO will continue to apply, as they read on March 31, 2016, to all applications that were received by FSCO before the transition date but are not finally determined before that date. The SABS will also be amended, where necessary, to apply to applications filed at the LAT on or after April 1, 2016.
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The Ontario government has finally amended the SABS definition of catastrophic impairment.
The government’s 2010 auto insurance reforms included recommendations most seriously injured accident victims. The government directed FSCO to consult with the medical community to amend the definition of catastrophic impairment as set out in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
In 2010 FSCO announced the appointment of Dr. Pierre Côté as Chair of the Catastrophic Impairment Expert Panel. The Panel submitted it’s recommendations to the FSCO Superintendent in the spring of 2011. In December 2011, the Superintendent submitted his report to the government.
The new definition is effective June 1, 2016.
Below is a chart that compares the current SABS definition, the Superintendent’s recommended definition and the new SABS definition that will be introduced next year.
Superintendent’s 2011 Report
Paraplegia or quadriplegia;
paraplegia or tetraplegia that meets the following criteria i and either ii or iii:
ii. The neurological recovery is such that the permanent ASIA Grade can be determined with reasonable medical certainty according to the ASIA and
iii. The permanent ASIA Grade is A, B, or C or,
iv. The permanent ASIA Grade is or will be D provided that the insured has a permanent inability to walk independently as defined by scores 0–5 on the Spinal Cord Independence Measure item 12 and/or requires urological surgical diversion, an implanted device, or intermittent or constant catheterization in order to manage the residual neuro-urological impairment.
Paraplegia or tetraplegia that meets the following criteria:
i. The insured person’s neurological recovery is such that the person’s permanent grade on the ASIA Impairment Scale can be determined.
ii. The insured person’s permanent grade on the ASIA Impairment Scale is or will be,
A. A, B or C, or
B. D, and
1. the insured person’s score on the Spinal Cord Independence Measure, Version III, item 12 and applied over a distance of up to 10 metres on an even indoor surface is 0 to 5,
2. the insured person requires urological surgical diversion, an implanted device, or intermittent or constant catheterization in order to manage a residual neuro-urological impairment, or
3. the insured person has impaired voluntary control over anorectal function that requires a bowel routine, a surgical diversion or an implanted device.
The amputation of an arm or leg or another impairment causing the total and permanent loss of use of an arm or a leg;
Severe impairment of ambulatory mobility, as determined in accordance with the following criteria:
i. Trans-tibial or higher amputation of one limb, or
ii. Severe and permanent alteration of prior structure and function involving one or both lower limbs as a result of which it can be reasonably determined that the Insured Person has or will have a permanent inability to walk independently and instead requires at least bilateral ambulatory assistive devices [mobility impairment equivalent to that defined by scores 0–5 on the Spinal Cord Independence Measure item 12, ability to walk <10 m).
Severe impairment of ambulatory mobility or use of an arm, or amputation that meets the following criteria:
i. Trans-tibial or higher amputation of a leg.
ii. Amputation of an arm or another impairment causing the total and permanent loss of use of an arm.
iii. Severe and permanent alteration of prior structure and function involving one or both legs as a result of which the insured person’s score on the Spinal Cord Independence Measure, Version III, item 12, and applied over a distance of up to 10 metres on an even indoor surface is 0 to 5.
Total loss of vision in both eyes
Legal blindness in both eyes due to structural damage to the visual system. Non-organic visual loss (hysterical blindness) is excluded from this definition.
Loss of vision of both eyes that meets the following criteria:
i. Even with the use of corrective lenses or medication,
A. visual acuity in both eyes is 20/200 (6/60) or less as measured by the Snellen Chart or an equivalent chart, or
B. the greatest diameter of the field of vision in both eyes is 20 degrees or less.
ii. The loss of vision is not attributable to non-organic causes.
Brain impairment that results in,
(i) a score of 9 or less on the Glasgow Coma Scale, according to a test administered within a reasonable period of time after the accident by a person trained for that purpose, or
(ii) a score of 2 (vegetative) or 3 (severe disability) on the Glasgow Outcome Scale, according to a test administered more than six months after the accident by a person trained for that purpose;
Traumatic Brain Injury in Adults (18 years of age or older):
ii. Catastrophic impairment, based upon an evaluation that has been in accordance with published guidelines for a structured GOS-E assessment to be:
a) Vegetative (VS) after 1 months or
b) Severe Disability Upper (SD+) or Severe Disability Lower (SD -) after 6 months, or Moderate Disability Lower (MD-) after one year due to documented brain impairment, provided that the determination has been preceded by a period of in-patient neurological rehabilitation in a recognized rehabilitation center.
If the insured person was 18 years of age or older at the time of the accident, a traumatic brain injury that meets the following criteria:
i. The injury shows positive findings on a computerized axial tomography scan, a magnetic resonance imaging or any other medically recognized brain diagnostic technology indicating intracranial pathology that is a result of the accident, including, but not limited to, intracranial contusions or haemorrhages, diffuse axonal injury, cerebral edema, midline shift or pneumocephaly.
ii. When assessed in accordance with the Glasgow Outcome Scale and the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale, the injury results in a rating of,
A. Vegetative State (VS or VS*), one month or more after the accident,
B. Upper Severe Disability (Upper SD or Upper SD*) or Lower Severe Disability (Lower SD or Lower SD*), six months or more after the accident, or
C. Lower Moderate Disability (Lower MD or Lower MD*), one year or more after the accident.
An impairment or combination of impairments that, in accordance with the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993, results in 55 per cent or more impairment of the whole person;
A physical impairment or combination of physical impairments that, in accordance with the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition 1993, (GEPI-4), results in a physical impairment rating of 55 per cent whole person impairment (WPI).
i. Unless covered by specific rating guidelines within relevant Sections of Chapters 3-13 of GEPI-4, all impairments relatable to non-psychiatric symptoms and syndromes (e.g. functional somatic syndromes, chronic pain syndromes, chronic fatigue syndromes, fibromyalgia Syndrome, etc.) that arise from the accident are to be understood to have been incorporated into the weighting of the GEPI-4 physical impairment ratings set out in Chapters 3 – 13.
ii. With the exception of traumatic brain injury impairments, mental and/or behavioural impairments are excluded from the rating of physical impairments.
iii. Definition 2(e), including subsections I and II, cannot be used for a determination of catastrophic impairment until two years after the accident, unless at least three months after the accident, there is a traumatic physical impairment rating of at least 55% WPI and there is no reasonable expectation of improvement to less than 55% WPI.
A physical impairment or combination of physical impairments that, in accordance with the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993, results in 55 per cent or more physical impairment of the whole person.
An impairment that, in accordance with the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993, results in a class 4 impairment (marked impairment) or class 5 impairment (extreme impairment) due to mental or behavioural disorde
The post-traumatic psychiatric impairment(s) must arise as a direct result of one or more of the following disorders, when diagnosed in accordance with DSM IV TR criteria: (a) Major Depressive Disorder, (b) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (c) a Psychotic Disorder, or (d) such other disorder(s) as may be published within a Government Guideline.
ii. Impairments due to pain are excluded other than with respect to the extent to which they prolong or contribute to the duration or severity of the psychiatric disorders which may be considered under Criterion (i).
iii. Any impairment or impairments arising from traumatic brain injury must be evaluated using Section 2(d) or 2(e) rather than this Section.
iv. Severe impairment(s) are consistent with a Global Assessment of Function (GAF) score of 40 or less, after exclusion of all physical and environmental limitations.
v. For the purposes of determining whether the impairment is sufficiently severe as to be consistent to Criterion (iv) – a GAF score of 40 or less – at minimum there must be demonstrable and persuasive evidence that the impairment(s) very seriously compromise independence and psychosocial functioning, such that the Insured Person clearly requires substantial mental health care and support services. In determining the demonstrability and persuasiveness of the evidence, the following generally recognized indicia are relevant:
Repeated hospitalizations, where the goal and duration are directly related to the provision of treatment of severe psychiatric impairment;
c) Appropriate interventions and/or psychopharmacological medications such as: ECT, mood stabilizer medication, neuroleptic medications and/or such other medications that are primarily indicated for the treatment of severe psychiatric disorders;
d) Determination of loss of competence to manage finances and property, or Treatment Decisions, or for the care of dependents;
e) Monitoring through scheduled in-person psychiatric follow-up reviews at a frequency equivalent to at least once per month.
f) Regular and frequent supervision and direction by community-based mental health services, using community funded mental health professionals to ensure proper hygiene, nutrition, compliance with prescribed medication and/or other forms of psychiatric therapeutic interventions, and safety for self or others.
An impairment that, in accordance with the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993 results in a class 4 impairment (marked impairment) in three or more areas of function that precludes useful functioning or a class 5 impairment (extreme impairment) in one or more areas of function that precludes useful functioning, due to mental or behavioural disorder.
A mental or behavioural impairment, excluding traumatic brain injury, determined in accordance with the rating methodology in Chapter 14, Section 14.6 of the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th edition, 2008, that, when the impairment score is combined with a physical impairment described in paragraph 6 in accordance with the combining requirements set out in the Combined Values Table of the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993, results in 55 percent or more impairment of the whole person.
if an insured person is under the age of 16 years at the time of the accident and none of the Glasgow Coma Scale, the Glasgow Outcome Scale or the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993, referred to in clause (2) (d), (e) or (f) can be applied by reason of the age of the insured person.
Paediatric Traumatic Brain Injury (prior to age 18)
i. A child who sustains a traumatic brain injury is automatically deemed to have sustained a catastrophic impairment provided that either one of the following criteria (a or b) is met on the basis of traumatic brain injury sustained in the accident in question:
a) In-patient admission to a Level I trauma centre with positive findings on CT/MRI scan indicating intracranial pathology that is the result of the accident, including but not limited to intracranial contusions or haemorrhages, diffuse axonal injury, cerebral edema, midline shift, or pneumocephaly; or
b) In-patient admission to a publically funded rehabilitation;
Paediatric catastrophic impairment on the basis of traumatic brain injury is any one of the following criteria:
ii. At any time after the first 1 months, the child’s level of neurological function does not exceed the KOSCHI Category of Vegetative.
iii. At any time after the first 6 months, the child’s level of function does not exceed the KOSCHI Category of Severe. (2) May be fully conscious and able to communicate but not yet able to carry out any self care activities such as feeding. (3) Severe Impairment implies a continuing high level of dependency, but the child can assist in daily activities; for example, can feed self or walk with assistance or help to place items of clothing.
iv. At any time after the first 9 months, the child’s level of function remains seriously altered such that the child is for the most part not age appropriately independent and requires supervision/actual help for physical, cognitive and/or behavioural impairments for the majority of his/her waking day.
If the insured person was under 18 years of age at the time of the accident, a traumatic brain injury that meets one of the following criteria:
i. The insured person is accepted for admission, on an in-patient basis, to a public hospital named in a Guideline with positive findings on a computerized axial tomography scan, a magnetic resonance imaging or any other medically recognized brain diagnostic technology indicating intracranial pathology that is a result of the accident, including, but not limited to, intracranial contusions or haemorrhages, diffuse axonal injury, cerebral edema, midline shift or pneumocephaly.
ii. The insured person is accepted for admission, on an in-patient basis, to a program of neurological rehabilitation in a paediatric rehabilitation facility that is a member of the Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services.
iii. One month or more after the accident, the insured person’s level of neurological function does not exceed category 2 (Vegetative) on the King’s Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury.
iv. Six months or more after the accident, the insured person’s level of neurological function does not exceed category 3 (Severe disability) on the King’s Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury.
v. Nine months or more after the accident, the insured person’s level of function remains seriously impaired such that the insured person is not age-appropriately independent and requires in-person supervision or assistance for physical, cognitive or behavioural impairments for the majority of the insured person’s waking day.
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