29/05/2019 by Dick Byl
Politicians Prioritize Cost Savings Over the Needs of British Columbians
For British Columbians, the fight against ICBC’s persistent unfairness has not stopped or slowed. Law firms in Prince George are gearing up for yet another brawl as Attorney General David Eby attempts to enact even more restrictive legislative changes.
A Conflict of Duty
It’s no secret that ICBC has been facing serious financial challenges in recent years. Costs have been steadily rising, and they have not been handling the added burden very well. British Columbians have already seen their rights diminished and the claims process altered to favour ICBC, but this most recent proposed change is even more blatant.
Lawyers in Prince George have noted that Eby is acting in contradictory ways. He is the attorney general for the province, which means his first duty is to protect the rights of the citizens. However, he is also the chief legal officer to the cabinet, which puts this duty at odds with attempting to manage the Crown’s expenditures.
To this end, Eby has recently pushed through new limitations that clearly benefit ICBC while harming injured British Columbians.
The New Limitations
As of April 1, 2019, the definition of a minor injury has been significantly expanded to include concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries. Under this new definition, at least 80 per cent of all traffic accidents now fall into the “minor” injury category. British Columbians who have been in these “minor” accidents are now forced to complete a complex, online-only claim through the Civil Resolution Tribunal.
The expansion of this definition directly violates a promise Eby made that he would not do this to benefit the Crown.
In addition, he has also tried to limit the number of expert reports that claimants can cite in their cases, and he included a clause to make this retroactive for all current cases. This would put every injured citizen and personal injury lawyer in Prince George in a serious bind, and it would compromise many current and future claims.
This attempted prohibition is facing a constitutional challenge because it “violates the principle of natural justice of the right to be heard.”
Lawyers in Prince George, BC, have united to help citizens fight these measures, and many have raised concerns about Eby’s clearly divided loyalties.
A String Of Grievances
These measures come in the wake of other unjust practices that lawyers in Prince George have seen, such as discriminatory pay for unionized versus non-unionized workers, eliminating property rights and forced unionization.
ICBC may be struggling to make ends meet, but their treatment of British Columbians will not be taken quietly.