On June 3, 2015, hundreds of concerned citizens rallied at Queen’s Park to protest Bill 91 which proposed to drastically cut accident benefits for Ontario’s most vulnerable accident survivors.
Specifically, Bill 91, the ironically named “Building Ontario Up Act”, reduced benefits for catastrophically and severely injured victims from $2,000,000 down to $1,000,000. It reduced benefits for survivors categorized as having “minor” injuries from $86,000 down to $65,000 and reduced the maximum coverage period from 10 years down to 5 years. It combined coverage for medical, rehabilitation and attendant care costs, now requiring that these reduced sums cover everything under the sun. And once again, the hoop that survivors must jump through to be deemed catastrophically impaired was further narrowed.
Ontarians pay insurance premiums so that if the unexpected happens, they will have a chance to rebuild their lives. This opportunity is no longer afforded to most.
Insurance giants support the legislation by blaming Ontarians for making fraudulent claims. However, in the past decade alone, Ontarians were overcharged $3,000,000,000 by insurance giants.
The image of the struggling insurance giant is a hard pill to swallow. The greater fraud is taking a cut of hard-working Ontarians’ money each and every year and then leaving them to fend for themselves when tragedy strikes.
At the rally, speakers utilizing wheelchairs, braces, crutches and other rehabilitative devices shared their stories and expressed how they managed to pull their lives together when faced with unforeseen tragedy. Their stories resonated with all in attendance and a sense of pride and perseverance was palpable. Accident victims are survivors and fighters by nature. They have to be. Everything they have is the result of unyielding determination.
After a motor vehicle accident, one speaker was told there was a 99% chance she would never walk again. But there she stood, in front of the crowd, powerfully recounting her tale of recovery. Under this new legislation, she would not be categorized as catastrophically impaired. Under this new legislation, even if she was so categorized, she would have depleted her benefits within the first year of her recovery. Under this new legislation, we would be looking at a very different young woman.
On this day in Ontarian history, money spoke louder than words. Profits were protected over people. Up against corporate insurance giants, the voice of the people was stifled. And not for the first time; in 2010, similar cuts were made.
How many times are we going to choose organizations over Ontarians? Insurance over individuals? Profits over people?
End the trend.
Sign the petition at www.AccidentBenefitCoalition.com and follow #Rally4AccidentVictims on Twitter.
Rastin & Associates