Ontario Transit Systems seek exemption from no-fault insurance

TORONTO, Aug. 1 2008 – The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) and the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) have submitted proposals to the Ontario Auto Insurance Five Year Review calling for the exemption of public transit from the provisions of the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule (the “no-fault” regime) and returning public transit in Ontario to a pure tort regime for bodily injury claims.

“Ontario’s public transit systems are experiencing skyrocketing insurance costs relating specifically to the no-fault regime”, says Kelly Paleczny, Chair of OPTA. “It is an inappropriate system in a public transit environment. Effective risk management, deterrence, and control of claims are challenging and the cost of the program is not sustainable.”

Ontario transit systems and its representative associations are calling for changes to the no-fault legislation in their public submission to the Ontario Ministry of Finance. The submission highlights the unique nature of public transit and rationale for the call for the exemption.

“Medical fees and assessment costs are no longer capped and are now all at the insurer’s expense,” says Paleczny. “Exempting public transit from the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule’s provisions would be a step in the right direction. Alberta and Newfoundland’s transit systems operate effectively in a pure tort environment – as does most of the United States of America – and Ontario should follow these examples.”

“We are urging the province to exempt public transit from the no-fault regime and return bodily injury claims relating to surface vehicles owned by public transit systems to a pure tort regime,” adds Larry Ducharme, Chair of the CUTA Ontario Regional Committee.

OPTA represents the public transit systems of approximately 80 Ontario municipalities, as well as transportation providers in the non-profit sector and suppliers to the industry. www.octa.on.ca

CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada. www.cutaactu.ca