The Bill would amend the Insurance Act to change how disputes relating to statutory accident benefits will be resolved. Currently these disputes are dealt with by the director of arbitrations appointed under section 6 and arbitrators and mediators provided for under sections 8 and 9. Those sections are to be repealed and regulations will deal with proceedings going to the Tribunal [Cunningham Recommendations #4, 13, 24]. Regulation making authority would be added to the Insurance Act to cover the introductions of time limits and limitation periods. [Recommendation #6]
The protection of benefits after a dispute is resolved, currently in section 287, is continued under the new section 281.
Under the new section 282, the Lieutenant Governor in Council will be able to assess insurers for the costs of the Licence Appeal Tribunal relating to these disputes. That power is similar to the assessment power under section 25 of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario Act, 1997.
The new section 283 authorizes regulations for various transitional matters, ie, disputes that arise before the transition date. Regulations may provide for the continuation of director of arbitrations and existing arbitrators and mediators during transition.
The Bill only sets out a framework for a new dispute resolution system with nuts and bolts to be set out in regulations.