Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1493 22
25/11/2022
G. Dee - C. Sacco - S. Roth
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (transfer of costs)
  • Statutory interpretation (principles of) (legislative intent)
  • Transfer of costs (no fault motor vehicle insurance)

The employer sought a 100% transfer of costs for an accident that occurred on August 14, 2018. The cost transfer was sought under OPM Document No. 15-01-06, "Third Party Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Costs", that provides for an employer to be able to transfer costs if an accident involves a negligent third party, who is not covered by Schedule 1, according to "the degree of negligence attributed to the third party".

The employer's appeal was allowed. The employer was entitled to a 100% cost transfer of the costs associated with the accident.
The Panel noted that although there is no definition of negligence in OPM Document No. 15-01-06, there is a definition of negligence in OPM Document No. 14-05-01 "Transfer of Costs" that does define negligence. Based on this, the Panel was satisfied that the driver of the motor vehicle that was involved in the accident was negligent, and that the driver's negligence caused the accident that resulted in the worker experiencing traumatic mental stress.
The Panel also concluded that the standard for cost transfers under OPM Document No. 15-01-06 as written is simply negligence, and does not involve other matters such as foreseeability or duty of care. The Tribunal drew on the modern principle of statutory interpretation, which requires that the words of an Act be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme and object of the Act, and the intention of Parliament or the Legislature. It was concluded that these circumstances were sufficient for the employer to qualify for a cost transfer under the policy.
Furthermore, it was noted that the policy does not state that a worker injured by the accident needs to be directly struck by the negligent party in order for the worker's employer to be entitled to cost relief under the policy. As such, the worker's injuries were the result of a motor vehicle accident, which was caused by a negligent third party who was not covered under Schedule 1. That individual was 100% negligent in causing the accident, and the employer was therefore entitled to 100% cost relief under OPM Document No. 15-01-06.