VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. is set to fight the provincial government in court over changes to ICBC, and is expected to file a legal challenge Monday.
The association will argue the changes violate British Columbians’ rights protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Access to justice is a basic human right guaranteed to us as Canadians under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, the association’s Ron Nairne said in a press release. “The approach this government has taken to legislative and regulatory changes to address ICBC’s mismanagement problems violates the rights of British Columbians. This should be about protecting the public interest – not about protecting ICBC.”
ICBC is rolling out changes on Monday. They include capping injury payments for minor injuries at $5,500 and using an independent tribunal to hear complaints from injured people who don’t agree with the payouts that are offered.
Members of the lawyers’ group are concerned the new laws will unfairly restrict peoples’ access to the court and unfairly limit the amount of compensation people will be able to get if they’re injured on the road.
Former B.C. Attorney General and Premier Ujjal Dosanjh was asked by the organization to weigh in with his opinion on the changes.
“I am deeply concerned with the impacts on my fellow British Columbians of the impending legislation introduced by our current government. Fixing ICBC is a priority, but not at the expense of access to justice and the charter rights of British Columbians” he told NEWS 1130.
“This government has taken away that access to the courts or restricted it, and penalized regular, ordinary injured public in trying to solve the financial problem that could’ve been solved otherwise,” he added.
Dosanjh said the new rules only hurt the vulnerable and takes away people’s right to go to court.
The new rules were confirmed last year following concerns that the province’s auto insurer was in a financial crisis.