The purpose of this bulletin is to notify you that amendments to regulations under the Insurance Act governing Statutory Accident Benefits representatives (SABS representatives) have been made and will come into effect on September 1, 2004.
As of that date, a SABS representative who has been convicted of a Criminal Code offence listed in the regulation will not be entitled to represent a SABS claimant unless a pardon has been granted or issued under the Criminal Records Act (Canada). The new changes are contained in amendments to Ontario Regulation 664.
For your reference, the applicable Criminal Code offences are those listed in the Table attached to this Bulletin, and also include attempting to commit, being an accessory after the fact and conspiracy to commit, any of the listed offences.
As a result of the changes, a criminal record check is now part of the screening and renewal process for all SABS representatives filing with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).
Every SABS representative who has already filed a declaration and is currently on the FSCO web listing will be requested to provide information to allow FSCO to determine if he or she is affected by the new requirements. This information will be verified through a criminal record check. If the representative has been convicted of one of the prescribed criminal offences, he or she is unauthorized to act as a SABS representative, and will be removed from the web listing as of September 1, 2004.
The filing process for anyone who files a new or renewal declaration with FSCO will also be subject to the new requirements including a criminal record search.
Non-disclosure or any misrepresentation of a SABS representative's history is an offence and may result in prosecution.
Any SABS representative who is unauthorized to act as a representative must immediately, and prior to September 1, 2004, notify all claimants they represent and obtain instructions to transfer their files to another representative or lawyer.
If a SABS representative wishes to voluntarily withdraw the filed declaration, he or she can use the internet application at: www.fsco.gov.on.ca to remove his or her name from the web listing on or before September 1, 2004. He or she will then no longer be authorized to act as a SABS representative and must notify all claimants they represent, and obtain instructions to transfer their files to another representative or lawyer.
Insurers will be expected to make reasonable allowances for claimants who find themselves without an advocate as a result of these changes, and should not seek to use any reasonable delay that may ensue for tactical advantage. Where an insurer knows that a claimant’s representative has become de-listed, the insurer should also satisfy itself that the claimant is aware of this. Failure by insurers to comply with these requirements will be considered resistance to the fair adjustment and settlement of claims, in violation of the unfair or deceptive acts or practices provisions in Ontario Regulation 7/00.
Insurers are also reminded that information concerning any paralegal acting in violation of the regulations should be reported to FSCO in accordance with the procedures outlined in Superintendent’s Bulletin A- 18/03 (Filing a Complaint about a Paralegal).
If you have questions about the new requirements or this Bulletin please contact FSCO at: 416-250-9209 or 1-800-263-0541, or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan P. Davies
Chief Executive Officer and
Superintendent of Financial Services
July 26, 2004