SCI Ontario provides input at summer hearings on Marshall Review

With little fanfare, hearings to gather public input on “Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance Industry in Ontario” were held in late August. The review was completed for the Minister of Finance by David Marshall and released in April. The hearings were led by Parliamentary Assistant for the Minister, Yvan Baker.

Peter Athanasopoulos, Senior Manager Public Policy and Government Relations for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and Manager Ontario Spinal Cord Injury Solutions Alliance (a partnership between ONF and SCIO) presented the final of 17 presentations received during the two days of the hearing.

“Our message was that it is time to start listening and responding to what people living with SCI need,” he said. “I felt that I was being heard. And our presentation echoed many of the messages already presented including the need for more investment into research and the implementation of a Neurotrauma Care Pathway that determines what the recovery process for each person looks.” Similar care pathways are already adopted for stroke and cancer.

The needs of the patient, rather than the cost of a settlement following an automobile collision should be the focus of effort for the automobile insurance industry and health care providers according to the recommendations in the review. Automobile collisions are a major cause of neurotrauma and, as noted in the review, the resulting medical and rehabilitation care requirements are not always delivered consistently or efficiently. This has often resulted in expensive, lengthy and repetitive assessment processes that include both the public and private health care providers.

“We need healthcare to be based on evidence that leads to the best course of recovery for each individual,” says Peter. “This will require investment by the government but it will also mean better short- and long-term outcomes for each person.”

David Marshall is the former head of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and was appointed special advisor to the Minister of Finance in 2016.