CRT Part 7 Decision Update

As of April 1, 2019, substantial changes have been made to ICBC No-Fault benefits. Also known as “Part 7” benefits, these benefits are generally available to all British Columbia motorists involved in a collision regardless of whether they are at fault or not. These benefits primarily cover treatment expenses and disability benefits.

The current BC government drastically expanded the Civil Resolution Tribunal’s (CRT) jurisdiction to decide several matters related to ICBC and motor vehicle accidents including the sole authority to determine whether a person injured in a car accident is entitled to no-fault benefits.

It’s important to remember that the CRT is not a court. It is an administrative tribunal. Unlike court hearings that are presided over by judges, CRT hearings are presided over by members through online communications, zoom, and telephone hearings. Unlike independent judges, CRT “members” do not have tenure and their employment is dependent upon the Attorney General who has spear-headed these changes to ICBC.

In order to understand how the CRT will be considering ICBC no-fault in the future it is important to view how they already rendered decisions.

Although the CRT has had jurisdiction over ICBC no-fault benefits since April 1, 2019, few cases have been decided and reported by the CRT. Several of those decisions dismissed the claims of injured people on the basis that they hadn’t complied with the CRT’s procedures.

Cruz v ICBC, 2020 BCCRT 1394 & Smith v. ICBC, 2020 BCCRT 1365

In these cases, the claimants were injured in a motor vehicle accidents that took place after April 1, 2019. They both sought no-fault benefits from ICBC and, at the time of filing, all treatment expenses had been paid by ICBC. Both claimants sought a determination from the CRT that future treatment would be needed and wanted a lump sum awarded to cover the cost of those treatments into the foreseeable future.

Although section 102 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation does allow for ICBC to make lump sum payments for future benefits, the CRT determined that this is discretionary and not required. The CRT dismissed both claims on the grounds that, as of the date of the hearing, ICBC had not refused to fund any treatment. However the tribunal was clear that their decision did not prevent the claimants from commencing a claim in the future should ICBC deny coverage.

The main takeaway from these cases appears to be that the CRT will not consider the future cost of treatment and the necessity of those future treatments unless that treatment has already been recommended and refused by ICBC.