|Catherine Zingg (Chair)
Approval of Minutes – Meeting of January 26, 2007
The Minutes were approved as submitted.
1. Business Arising from Minutes - All
2. Forum Membership/Mailing List/ Recruitment - All
The current mailing list is out of date and we are looking for ways to rebuild the list. A separate email will be sent to individuals to see if they are still interested in receiving the emails which include Minutes, Agendas and mailings in between meetings. A question was asked regarding whether more than one person could attend from a firm/company. All are welcome if they feel this would be productive.
3. Insurance Reforms
- Disputes Between Insurers - Roberto Pegoraro
Roberto Pegoraro indicated that a wide range of submissions were received at the end of October, 2006 and the Court of Appeal has issued its decision dealing with MVAC’s status. Although the timing and next steps are unclear at this time, there is a reasonable likelihood that draft regulations will be released before the regulations are amended.
Roberto Pegoraro reported that there has been a change in liability regarding car rental companies and leased vehicles to deal with situations where someone rents a car and lends it to someone else. Coverage for individuals who have rented a car and then lent it to a friend – who is liable. Information can be found in Bulletin #7A 06 which was released on October 16/06. There has also been a form change.
There will be a transition period for SABS Reps at FSCO as the Law Society moves to regulate paralegals effective May 1, 2007. FSCO’s system will continue to operate until May 1, 2008.
4. 14th Floor Renovations - David Draper
FSCO is in the middle of renovating the 14th floor (hearing and mediation rooms). Changes include two new rooms, three enclosed caucus rooms, additional soundproofing (walls and ceilings) and improved air venting. Construction is expected to be finished by the end of next week.
5. DRS Excellence Project (internal operational review) - David Draper
Consultant’s report will be posted internally in April. Specific topics will be available at the next meeting and we will be asking for your feedback. For example, we are looking at different scheduling options for mediation, more fillable forms (OCF forms and Application for Mediation currently fillable), electronic filing, website redesigns and want to hear what will be useful from your end and what your needs are.
6. Arbitration Issues - Asfaw Seife
Some members expressed concerns regarding the lack of clarity in the procedures and the need for consistency amongst arbitrators in terms of what they require by way of documentation, particularly in cases where parties have only settled issues in arbitration that do not dispose of the entire claim of a benefit category.
Discussions took place regarding the lack of consistency noted in arbitration decisions on how arbitrators have dealt with cases where the applicant has failed to show up in the proceeding. Although it was recognized that ultimately this falls in the arbitrator's discretion, a more consistent approach amongst arbitrators would be helpful.
7. Recent Decisions/Issues - David Draper
Interface Between SABS and WSIAT (Decisions 2035/05 & 1362/06)
8. IT Issues – WordPerfect to Word/Adobe Forms -David Draper
FSCO is moving to Adobe Acrobat for fillable, savable forms.
9. DRS Status Report – Statistics and Updates
Nothing significant to report for the last 2 months. Just over 1,000 applications received per month for January and February, 2007. We are continuing to monitor the average processing time and have made
progress in reducing the perfected to assigned time.
Admin Closures - The biggest closure rate continues to be the No Issues In Dispute category.
Settlement Rates - The Full Settlement Rate was at 42% in February and Partials were at 16%.
|Annual Statistics -
||We received 12,996 applications for the period March, 2006 to February, 2007 as
compared, to 12,710 in the previous year. Applications completed when filed were at
58% compared to 49% in the previous year. Full settlement rates increased to 38% as
compared to 37% in the previous year and Partial settlements remained at 17%.
Staffing - The team leader position has been posted as Marcelle Bourassa is on a leave of absence having accepted a position as Vice-Chair at the Assessment Review Board. We have one mediator who has returned from a secondment and another who has resigned and are moving to regularize that position.
Discussion regarding Last Offers and possibility of developing a Guideline/ Practice Note on the use of Last Offers. John reported that this issue was raised and discussed during a staff meeting.
- Arbitration - Asfaw Seife
Little change since the last quarter. Over 50% of decisions were issued within 60 days. Pending files are steadily reducing which translates into earlier hearing dates. The number of hearings held has increased.
Staffing – Susan Sapin, Senior Arbitrator, will be returning to her home position of Arbitrator and her current position has been posted. Arbitrator Beth Allen has been appointed a Justice of the Superior Court of Justice.
The volumes in Appeals statistics remains fairly steady, with somewhat higher intake recently. Two appeals officers are handling all of the appeal files.
- Judicial Review and Other Decisions of Note - David Draper
The Judicial Review Chart was distributed. Grant was dismissed – November 30, 2006. The Divisional Court reserved its decision in McMichael, involving incurred expenses. We are still waiting for the Supreme Court's decisions in the two "accident cases.”
10. Agenda Items for Future Meetings - All
It was suggested that invitations to the next Counsel Forum meeting be sent to applicant’s counsel listed on the list provided by DRS to C. Zingg, in an effort to increase attendance at Counsel Forum by members of the plaintiff bar, who are under-represented. S. Pasternak also agreed to ensure notice of future Counsel Forum meetings was brought to the attention of OTLA.
11. Other Business - All
Discussion regarding current practice of awarding of expenses. A different process would require a legislative change. Ultimately, the Ministry of Finance controls the legislative agenda. Concerns can be brought to David Draper’s attention or you may write to Willie Handler, Senior Manager, Automobile Insurance Policy.
12. Future Meetings:
Friday September 28, 2007 & Friday November 30, 2007 at 9:30 am at FSCO.