Project Update – November 26, 2015
Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLASTO) is providing regular updates about the transformation of the Auto Insurance Dispute Resolution System (AIDRS) and its transition from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT).
As part of the government’s automobile insurance Cost and Rate Reduction Strategy, the new AIDRS is being developed based on the recommendations of the Ontario Auto Insurance Dispute Resolution System Review Final Report conducted by the Honourable J. Douglas Cunningham. The goal of the review was to help claimants resolve disputes quickly in order to access the medical treatment and rehabilitation they require sooner. The recommendations, and the input of an Expert Advisory Committee, have informed the new AIDRS’s guiding principles of:
· Access to meaningful participation;
The new system at LAT will begin accepting applications on April 1, 2016. The LAT AIDRS will be streamlined to a single direct review and hearing process in front of an independent adjudicative tribunal.
FSCO’s Dispute Resolution Services administers auto insurance benefits disputes in three main stages: mediation, arbitration and appeals. It is anticipated that a summary of draft transition regulations dealing with existing cases at FSCO as of April 1, 2016 will be posted on the government’s regulatory registry in early December 2015. The draft regulations will be open for public comment for 45 days.
The LAT, as an existing tribunal, has rules and procedures in place already. The LAT will make some changes to its existing rules to accommodate AIDRS cases.
The rules and procedures of the new AIDRS will be consistent with Mr. Justice Cunningham’s recommendations. Proposed rule changes will be posted to the LAT website for public comment in December 2015.
SLASTO is also developing a specific version of the tribunal’s case management system that will support the AIDRS cases.
Recruitment for approximately 80 full and part time appointees to LAT is currently underway. The plan is to have approximately 40 appointees in place by the spring of 2016, with the first members joining in the first half of 2016 and the remainder by the end of 2016/17. To maintain independence in their decision-making, LAT adjudicative members are publicly appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, based on recommendation from the Attorney General.
Adjudicators who will be working on AIDRS cases will receive training focused on the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule and auto insurance benefits dispute resolution. Through a competitive procurement process, SLASTO is working to develop and administer this training.
Not all of the recommendations of the Final Report will be implemented by April 1, 2016. For example, the introduction of video conferencing as the primary means of electronic hearings and electronic filing at LAT (Recommendations 14 and 23) are the responsibility of LAT and will require additional time to implement. Non-tribunal specific recommendations are the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. The Government will be working with industry throughout 2016 to develop proposals for an internal review mechanism for insurance companies (Recommendations 19, 20 and 21). However, it is anticipated that within the first year of the new AIDRS, progress will be demonstrated on outstanding review recommendations.
LAT is committed to keeping stakeholders informed and providing ongoing opportunities for input through this transition process. Open information/Q&A sessions will be scheduled from December 2015 to January 2016 in the GTA. In addition, regular updates will be provided via email to those who subscribe.
Join our e-mail list to receive updates about the AIDRS transformation by emailing your name, address, e-mail, and organization, if any, to DRStransformation@ontario.ca
Previous AIDRS updates are accessible by clicking here.