Limitations on Personal Injury Awards by Ontario Works

October 3rd, 2013 by

In Ontario, there are currently limitations to the awards that certain plaintiffs of personal injury lawsuits can receive. Unfortunately, two of these limitations in particular are often causing a great injustice to some of the most vulnerable groups of people in our society- those with low income and those with disabilities.

The Limitations on Personal Injury Awards by Ontario WorksThe Ontario Works program and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) create award limitations of $25,000 and $100,000 respectively. Any awards in excess of these amounts, whether obtained through settlement or court order, are required to be paid back to the government. If the excess amounts are not paid back, the recipient of the award may no longer be eligible for the programs.

Critics of these limitations note that they are outdated (the Ontario Works limit having been implemented in 1990, and the ODSP limit having been implemented in 1998) that have not been adapted since their creation despite the reality of inflation. Yet, despite the outdated nature of these limitations, there does not appear to be any prospects for reform in the near future. This is likely because, as Glenn Kauth brings to light in his editorial titled “Raise lawsuit caps[i]”, a tension exists between the interest of spending taxpayer dollars in an efficient way and the interest of enabling those who have been wronged to be fairly compensated. Specifically, some would argue that those who have received significant sums of money through personal injury awards may no longer deserve government support.

Kauth suggests that reconciling these competing interests is possible by bringing these capped amounts up to speed with inflation. Whether or not Kauth’s suggestion is sufficient, what should be clear is that there is a need for reform. Only then will it be possible to ensure that some of the most vulnerable groups in society will not be stripped of their right to obtain the justice they deserve when they have become the victims of the negligence of others.

Contact us to learn more about the Limitations on Personal Injury Awards by Ontario Works, the Ontario Disability Support Program, and the need for reform. If you are in need of assistance with regards to a personal injury claim or personal injury laws, please contact Marc Spivak or one of our Toronto Personal Injury Lawyers.

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