From the President: CBABC Advocacy with respect to Proposed ICBC Reforms

  • February 25, 2020

To my fellow CBA members,

As you are no doubt aware, on February 6, the BC Government announced the introduction of a “no-fault” insurance plan to address ICBC’s ongoing financial problems.

CBABC is opposed to no-fault insurance for British Columbians. Across the country, these programs have reduced the rights of injured victims to have their claims assessed based on their individual circumstances.

We were deeply disappointed to hear about the government’s plans, particularly in light of the lack of public and industry consultation on the pros and cons of such a material change to BC’s insurance regime. We also wholeheartedly reject the notion that lawyers who faithfully represent their clients’ interests in disputes with ICBC are to blame for ICBC’s current financial situation. Further, we take exception to the anti-lawyer rhetoric presented in the government’s promotion of no-fault insurance.

In last week’s 2020 Budget announcements, we learned that ICBC is projecting a profit in 2020-21, before the proposed implementation of no-fault insurance. This may indicate that the ICBC reforms introduced to date (for example, caps on pain and suffering amounts for minor injuries and increased use of the Civil Resolution Tribunal) have improved ICBC’s financial situation. It is our position that time and further analysis are needed to determine if these changes will have lasting impacts prior to making further and far more radical reforms that restrict the rights of British Columbians.

Moving forward, our advocacy plan includes a thorough review of the BC Government’s Intentions Paper and preparation of a submission to government. This work will be conducted as a collaboration of our Automobile Insurance Working Group, our Policy & Advocacy Committee and the relevant Sections, with ultimate oversight by the CBABC Board of Directors.

We will continue responding to further announcements by the BC Government through media releases and interviews, as the situation warrants. We are commenting on and monitoring the proposed amendments to the Evidence Act with respect to limitations on expert evidence and disbursements in vehicle injury litigation. Further, we will be seeking meetings with MLAs from all three parties to ensure we understand all perspectives and communicate our positions to BC’s lawmakers.

We welcome your input on this important issue. Please feel free to share your thoughts by emailing feedback@cbabc.org or contacting me or our Executive Director, Kerry Simmons, QC directly.

And finally, thank you for your support of CBABC through your membership. It is because of our 7000+ membership base that we are able to advocate on behalf of the profession and the public interest on this important matter.

Ken Armstrong
CBABC President 2019-20