Catastrophic Clarity

Accident Benefit Reporter Volume 14, Issue 1 | by Dr. Harold Becker | May 1, 2013

Posted May 1, 2013
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On the eve of the FSCO Catastrophic Impairment Roundtable, I would like to offer some thoughts which hopefully will provide clarity to the issue of the redefinition of Catastrophic Impairment.

It is important to remember that Catastrophic Impairment is a legal definition, not a medical one. Therefore, what does or does not represent catastrophic impairment cannot be based on “science”, nor can it be based on medical opinion. That is the essence of the discussion at hand.

Much of what is being contemplated in the redefinition is an attempt to cloak Policy as Science. If it is Policy to change the definition, so be it. FSCO should be honest and declare its intent to the 12 million Ontarians affected by the anticipated changes (not just the 9 million licenced drivers, as pedestrians are also affected by these definitions). If we cannot afford to pay for catastrophic injuries as they are defined within the present premium umbrella, then the IBC and FSCO should admit that there needs to be Policy change to address this.

The recent FSCO Roundtable was struck to examine three aspects of the recommendations of the Expert Panel, namely combining physical and psychiatric impairments; the definition of psychiatric impairment itself; and the definitions of catastrophic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.

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