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Proposed insurance changes bad for province

The proposed changes to the auto insurance benefits put forth by Ontario's Liberal government means that those seriously injured in car wrecks will have potential benefits slashed drastically.

On a recent weekday, a press conference was held in Queen's Park by an alliance comprised of the Brain Injury Society of Toronto, the Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, individual victims and the Personal Injury Alliance. The groups are appealing the proposed insurance coverage changes.

One of the members of the Personal Injury Alliance said, "It's going to be twice as bad because half of the money for medical rehabilitation and care would disappear."

The Liberals' proposal in the 2015 spring budget plans to combine services for victims of catastrophic accidents. This means that rehab and attendant care could be limited to only one benefit maxing out at a million, which is half of the present $2 million limit. Additionally, while the statute of limitations to claim the benefits is currently 10 years, the proposal would now reduce it to only five.

But that's not all. They also propose altering basic car insurance benefits. Government agencies plan to combine rehab and medical benefits together with attendant care services into one benefit limited to $65,000. When they were separate benefits, the total exceeded $80,000.

The Ontario Finance Minister seeks to drop the cost of car insurance and "bring [them] more in line with other provinces." However, the Brain Injury Society of Toronto pointed out that the bill is likely to increase the burden on taxpayers. Their chairwoman stated that if the "changes go through, it's going to be twice as bad because half of the money for medical rehabilitation and care would disappear." Others will struggle and go without services while families take on more debt to meet their loved ones' needs.

Should the proposed changes become law, it will adversely affect Ontario residents who, through no fault of their own, are struggling mightily to cope with life-altering injuries.

Source: CBC News, "Ontario auto insurance changes slash benefits to seriously injured, critics say," May 7, 2015

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