June 23, 2014

SABS Update – Transportation Costs are a Yardstick for Determining Payment of a Benefit

For the week of June 23 to June 27, 2014

Asokumaran v. TD Home and Auto Insurance Company, [2014] F.S.C.O. 4197

MVC, September 5, 2010.   The Applicant’s friend sustained an economic loss of $5,408 by purchasing bus tickets passes to attend at the Applicant’s home to provide care-giving and housekeeping services between September 6, 2010 and September 4, 2012.

The Insurer argued that economic loss should be given a restrictive meanings so only a loss of income or  lost wages by a service provider would qualify an insured person to receive reimbursements for caregiver benefits and housekeeping expenses. The insurer argued that unfairness would result from using a transportation expense as a determining factor because the distance between the care provider’s home and that of the insured would become the yardstick in determining whether the benefit was payable.

According to section 3(7)(e)(iii) of the 2010 Schedule, the insured person must establish that the expenses are an incurred economic loss and establish that the loss is as a result of providing the goods or services to the insured person.  Notably, “Economic loss” was not defined or limited to lost wages or profits by the Court of Appeal in Henry v. Gore.

The Arbitrator concluded that “economic loss” should not be read restrictively.  Had the legislature intended to restrict economic loss to wage loss or loss of income, it would have defined the term.  The Applicant demonstrated that funds were expended by her friend and service provided in the amount of $5,048 in bus tickets and/or passes in order for her to travel to the Applicant’s home.  The purchases involved in the expenditure of funds by the service provider and were a monetary loss to her.  Therefore, it qualified as an economic loss within the meaning of the Schedule.

 

IMPLICATIONS

The Applicant successfully argued that any type of monetary loss, including out of pocket expenses, such as the cost of transportation associated with providing services to an inured person, constitutes an economic loss.  Based on the rationale of this decision, a caregiver who owns a vehicle and maintains gas receipts and a mileage log should also be able to demonstrate an economic loss for the purpose of the 2010 Schedule.  This expands Henry v. Gore which dealt with the caregiver’s income loss.

 

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