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Ontario Court Spells Out What Ambiguity Means

Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company v Ridi, 2022 ONCA 564.

Reading Time: 2 minutes (approx.)

Written By: Weston McArthur (Articled Clerk)

Filippo Ridi was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and became eligible for Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits [hereinafter, “SAB”]. These benefits were paid for by Travelers.

At paragraph 3, the Court wrote that “[t]he issue on this appeal is whether harmonized sales tax (“HST”) paid or payable on the goods and services supplied to [Mr. Ridi] for his attendant care, is included in the computation of the maximum amounts of attendant care benefits paid to the respondent.” In effect, Mr. Ridi sought to maximize the amount that he could claim under SAB.

The case turned on the question of whether two provisions of Ontario’s SAB were ambiguous.
At paragraph 36, the Court explained that “[a] provision is not ‘ambiguous’ simply because it is difficult to interpret or causes confusion. To be ‘ambiguous’, there must be two or more plausible meanings.”

This case specifically concerned sections 14 and 19 of Ontario’s SAB. The former mandates what insurers are to pay, while the latter lays out the maximum amount that an insured can receive. There are no references to HST in either provision.

In the end, there was nothing in the statute’s provisions that made the Court feel that there was any ambiguity and it ruled against Mr. Ridi.

Link: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/2022/2022onca564/2022onca564.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQAzRG9taW5pb24gb2YgQ2FuYWRhIEdlbmVyYWwgSW5zdXJhbmNlIENvbXBhbnkgdiBSaWRpAAAAAAE&resultIndex=2

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