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B.C. lawyers promise to consider whether to challenge no-fault plans – Vancouver Sun

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“Their solution is to create a much bigger fire in a much bigger ICBC dumpster,” says president of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.


BURNABY October 24 2019. The ICBC Claim Centre at 4399 Wayburne, Burnaby, October 24 2019. Gerry Kahrmann / PNG staff photo) 00059159A [PNG Merlin Archive]


Gerry Kahrmann / PNG

Groups affected by the Insurance Corp. of B.C.’s move to a no-fault system say they’ll be scrutinizing the change closely following the government’s surprise announcement.

John Rice, president of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C., said he was “deeply disappointed” by the move. The association will be investigating whether the proposed reforms should be challenged in court.

“You’ll remember that just in the spring of last year this government introduced sweeping legislative changes that contemplated the concept of a cap on what the government promised would only be minor injuries,” he said.

“But in fact, that cap included brain injuries, depression, PTSD, chronic pain … really serious stuff. And only nine months into this new law, government is effectively announcing that the policy scheme that they have pursued for the last two years has failed.”

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Rice said the government changed the policy out of the public eye, so the legal community was in the dark when it made its announcement Thursday. His association is now looking closely at the proposed reforms and considering its next steps.

“If the government and the attorney general of British Columbia have passed a law that in the view of constitutional law experts is unconstitutional, then it’s the mandate of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia — its mission — to protect the rights of British Columbians against anyone, including our own government,” Rice said.

However, several provinces already have no-fault insurance.

Rice said successive failures by government have meant that it has taken the once-profitable “crown jewel of public auto insurance in North America” and put it in crisis.

“Their solution is to create a much bigger fire in a much bigger ICBC dumpster,” he said.

Justina Loh, executive director of Disability Alliance B.C., said her organization is hopeful about the reforms and will be consulting with ICBC to make sure its regulations and policies don’t prevent people from getting the benefits they need.

Loh said the alliance wants to see a streamlined, efficient system so that support is not delayed.

“At the end of the day, we just care about the well-being of everyone, people who’ve suffered any type of injury for motor vehicle accidents, if they’re pedestrians, cyclists, anything like that,” she said.

“We just want to make sure they’re able to get all the support that they need, so not just physical support for OT (occupational therapy) or PT (physical therapy), but if they need support for housing, for transportation. There’s so many expenses that you can incur from either a catastrophic accident or some type of motor vehicle accident.”

Aaron Sutherland, vice-president for the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Pacific region, said that just because a province chooses a no-fault system, it doesn’t mean drivers shouldn’t have a choice in who insures them.

“Whether it’s a tort system like today or a no-fault system that government has announced, the big thing to make sure that rates are affordable as they can be is to make sure drivers have a choice,” he said.

Sutherland pointed to Quebec’s hybrid coverage method, where a mandatory public insurance plan covers bodily injury, and in some cases physical damage, such as hit-and-run, while all other coverage, including property damage, is purchased from private insurers.

The average insurance premium there is just $717, he said.

“We currently pay more for auto insurance than anyone else in the country and while it’s great to hear projections that rates are going to be coming down, I think we have to wait to see what ultimately happens,” Sutherland said.

“I think just last year government introduced a whole bunch of other reforms that were supposed to improve rates. And, of course, that didn’t happen.”

With files from Rob Shaw

neagland@postmedia.com

twitter.com/nickeagland

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Toronto continues investigation into cause of massive power outage – CP24

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Hydro One says it will take “several days” to repair hydro lines that were damaged after an upright crane in the lake slammed into them and caused a massive power outage downtown on Thursday.

The outage occurred in the city’s financial district at around 12:30 p.m., leaving approximately 10,000 customers without power at its peak.

A portion of the Eaton Centre was left in the dark, forcing hundreds of stores to temporarily close. The outage also knocked out power in parts of the Hospital for Sick Children’s campus.

Traffic lights were down in some intersections causing heavy traffic and significant streetcar delays. However, the outage did not affect subways.

Toronto Fire said crews responded to a number of elevator rescues, but no injuries connected to the outage were reported yesterday.

Hydro One says the outage was caused when a barge moving an upright crane in the Port Lands area hit overhead high voltage transmission lines.

“Now, what happened when that crane hit the line resulted in a downstream effect where a surge of power affected a nearby station on the Esplanade that we were actually using to reroute power to Toronto Hydro,” Hydro One Spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa told CP24 Friday morning.

The City of Toronto says the barge was being operated by a subcontractor to Southland-Astaldi Joint Venture (SAJV), which is a contractor for the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant outfall project.

Crews were reportedly preparing to move equipment into the lake for the project when the incident occurred.

“We’re going to use stone that needs to be placed out in the lake and the subcontractors were going to do that work for us but they were moving equipment. The event occurred off-site while they were doing their preparatory work,” Lou Di Gironimo, Toronto Water’s general manager told CP24 Friday.

Outage

Baccega Rosa said Hydro One crews were able to reroute about 50 per cent of the power shortly after the incident, which resulted in power being restored in some areas quicker than others.

Crews then had to stop their efforts and wait for the fire department to clear the site for workers to safely enter and reroute the rest of the power.

Outage

Once crews gained access, they were able to reroute all power to Toronto Hydro and power was fully restored downtown by 8 p.m.

Baccega Rosa said there are established safety protocols to stay a minimum of 10 metres away from power lines, which were not followed yesterday.

“And that’s (for) anyone whether, you know, you’re a barge passing under them (power lines) or if you’re doing work around your house and you need to trim the tree branches around the line connecting your home. You know, everyone was very lucky yesterday that there was not a safety incident and no one was hurt as a result of this,” she said.

The city has launched an investigation into the incident and has requested a full report from SAJV to understand what happened.

“So the big thing that we’re going to look at is what happened? Who was in charge of the subcontractor work? What were the safety procedures in place at the time? And then what exactly happened when the crane hit the wires?,” Di Gironimo said.

Di Gironimo could not confirm if the subcontractors will face any consequences for the incident.

“That will be part of the investigation to find out what happened. What were those precautions that were supposed to be in place. What was followed? What wasn’t?”

He said the city is meeting with SAJV next week and plans to complete the investigation within a matter of weeks.

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B.C. couple still owes $19M despite bankruptcy, appeal court rules – Business in Vancouver

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B.C. couple still owes $19M despite bankruptcy, appeal court rules – Economy, Law & Politics | Business in Vancouver


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​Rogers, Shaw formalize planned Freedom sale to Quebecor – BNN Bloomberg

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Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc. announced Friday they reached a definitive agreement for the previously-announced proposed sale of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile wireless business.
 
The three companies said that the terms of the definitive pact are “substantially consistent” with their original announcement on June 17, when they said Montreal-based Quebecor agreed to pay $2.85 billion to purchase Freedom. Originally, July 15 was the target to reach the definitive agreement.  

“We are very pleased with this agreement, and we are determined to continue building on Freedom’s assets,” said Quebecor president and chief executive officer Pierre Karl Péladeau in a release Friday. “Quebecor has shown that it is the best player to create real competition and disrupt the market.”
 
The transaction is conditional on Rogers receiving final regulatory approvals for its planned $20-billion takeover of Shaw, which was announced in March 2021.
 
The road to regulatory approval has become more treacherous for Rogers after Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell stated his objections to the plan, warning it would diminish competition in the telecom market, notwithstanding Rogers’ long-stated intent to divest Freedom Mobile.
 
Rogers’ legal counsel has argued vociferously against Boswell’s claims, saying in a June 3 filing with the Competition Tribunal that Boswell’s stance “is unreasonable, contrary to both the economic and fact evidence presented to the Bureau, and not supportable at law.”
 
The Competition Tribunal is currently scheduled to begin a hearing on the matter Nov. 7.
 
Rogers also has to clear another regulatory hurdle: its planned acquisition of Shaw requires approval from Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who has previously said he won’t allow the wholesale transfer of Shaw’s wireless assets to Rogers.
 
The process became more complicated for Rogers after a national network outage knocked out service to its customers in early July.

Champagne subsequently said the outage would “certainly be in [his] mind” when weighing the merit of the Shaw sale.
 
For its part, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Communications announced its conditional approval of the transaction in March.
 
Shaw investors have consistently demonstrated skepticism that the deal will go ahead as planned, as evidenced by its shares never once attaining the $40.50-per-share takeover offer from Rogers since the takeover was announced last year.

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