As occupational therapists, we want voters to understand the implications of NDP’s introduction of the No-Fault motor vehicle insurance system. We believe it is important for everyone to understand what No-Fault will mean for themselves and their loved ones. This legislation will have an impact on everyone.
Why you should listen to us. Occupational therapy has been the backbone of ICBC rehabilitation. We are the ones who work alongside injured individuals, helping them to go home from the hospital safely, teaching them to regain their independence and how to find the quality of life in spite of pain and suffering. We work with people who are at their most vulnerable after a motor vehicle accident, whose lives have been altered in an instant.
We know that ICBC regularly denies rehab benefits making our clients’ lives harder and recovery more complicated. People apply to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) if they disagree with an adjuster but will not be allowed to have a legal representative. It is simply unreasonable to suggest that injured people can represent themselves. Most will give up and go away – this will be a cost savings for ICBC but will bring a huge cost to the individual.
Why the promise of expanded rehab benefits is misleading. Expanded benefits are no more than an illusion if they continue to be denied. The only way many of our clients currently receive the treatment their doctor recommends is because they have a lawyer who advocates for them. Lawyers, the only team members who can advocate for clients without being fired by ICBC, are being eliminated completely. The prospect of obtaining care and treatment in the absence of legal advocacy is bleak.
The No Fault legislation guarantees the rights of ICBC to deny rehab benefits in the event “the insured fails to comply with prescribed requirements”. We know that injured people are non-compliant with treatment for legitimate reasons. They are struggling with mental health, cognitive difficulties, poverty, trauma, pain, addictions and/ or a history of systemic racism. The termination of rehab benefits for these individuals has an adverse discriminatory impact on the most vulnerable members of our society.
No Fault needs to be a key issue in the upcoming election. Each candidate needs to be asked what their position is and each of the other parties needs to explain how they will manage ICBC if they are successful. No Fault needs to be openly discussed with the community, with the compromises clearly and honestly explained.
Hilary Drummond, Managing Director
OT Alliance of BC