How Much Have Ontario No-Fault Accident Benefits Been Eroding?

The recently announced auto insurance reforms included in the 2015 Ontario Budget will again reduce accident benefits as part of the government’s efforts to reduce premiums in Ontario.  The government insists that benefits available are still generous.  I decided to compare the accident benefits available prior to the OMPP (Schedule C) under tort and the OMPP accident benefits with the new proposed limits announced in the Budget.  I used the Bank of Canada inflation calculator to convert past benefits into 2015 dollars.

The Schedule C accident benefits existed under the tort system prior to the introduction of no-fault.  Compensation was quite limited.  Income replacement benefits were available for 104 weeks, caregiver benefits for 12 weeks and medical benefits for 4 years.  The benefits aren’t quite analogous but when converted into 2015 dollars, it tells an interesting story. Keep in mind there was no second tier of benefits under Schedule C for catastrophic injuries.  Those not at-fault would need to start an action to access additional compensation.

The table below shows that the Schedule C benefits are not that far off from the benefit levels announced in the Budget.  Not only are benefits being cut but inflation has also eroded them.

pre-OMPP pre-OMPP 2015 Budget
(1989 $) (2015 $)
IRB $140.00/week $240.24/week $400.00/week
caregivers $70.00/week $120.12/week N/A*
non-earners N/A N/A $185.00/week
medical/rehab $25,000.00 $42,900.82 $65,000.00
medical/rehab (cat) $25,000.00 $42,990.82 $1,000,000.00
attendant care N/A N/A N/A**
* caregiver benefit currently only available for catastrophic injuries
** attendant care included in medical/rehabilitation cap

The indexed OMPP numbers are also revealing.  The table below shows that the accident benefits proposed in the recent provincial budget are, in some cases, less generous than the OMPP accident benefits even before adjusting for inflation.  Even those with catastrophic injuries are likely better off under the OMPP even though there was no higher tier of accident benefits available.  The OMPP provided all claimants with up to $1 million in combined medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits.  In 2015 dollars that works out to approximately $1.6 million in benefits.

OMPP OMPP 2015 Budget
(1990 $) (2015 $)
IRB $600.00/week $977.81/week $400.00/week
caregivers $250.00/week $407.42/week N/A*
non-earners $185.00/week $301.49/week $185.00/week
medical/rehab $500,000.00 $814,838.71 $65,000.00
med/rehab (cat) $500,000.00 $814,838.71 $1,000,000.00
attendant care $500,000.00 $814,838.71 N/A**
* caregiver benefit currently only available for catastrophic injuries
** attendant care included in medical/rehabilitation cap