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PEI Supreme Court rules that workers are entitled to Section B despite entitlement to claim compensation under Worker’s Compensation Act

Field v. Aviva Insurance Company, 2024 PESC 8 

Reading Time: 3.5 minutes (approx.) 

By: Alexandre Doucet 

This case stems from a workplace injury which occurred on June 18, 2021. Maynard Dean Field (the Plaintiff) was injured when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. At the time, the Plaintiff was operating his vehicle in the course of his employment and was covered under his workplace’s standard automobile insurance policy with Aviva Insurance Company of Canada (the Defendant). The Plaintiff claimed section B benefits under the policy; in general, Section B includes benefits related to medical, rehabilitation, death, and loss of income. The Defendant denied the Plaintiff’s eligibility and advised him to pursue workers compensation benefits instead.  

The issue at trial was whether the Plaintiff – who was injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the driver of another vehicle and had elected to bring a civil action against that other driver – was entitled to claim Section B benefits under a standard automobile policy in PEI.  

The court began by analyzing the interaction between the Worker’s Compensation Act, RSPEI 1988, c W-7.1 (“WCA”) and the Insurance Act, RSPEI 1988, c I-4. The statutory matrix of these two Acts contains specific legislative exceptions. For instance, the Insurance Act stipulates that if a person is entitled to receive benefits under the worker’s compensation plan, then Section B is not payable (section 3(3)(a)(ii) of the WCA). Under the WCA, if the worker is injured in an accident under the course of employment, then they are entitled to choose between claiming compensation under the WCA or to bringing an action (section 11(1) of the WCA). Section 11(5) of the WCA limits entitlement to workers compensation when the accident arises from the use of a motor vehicle. 

The operative distinction stipulates that a worker electing to claim workers compensation benefits cannot then rely on section 11(5) of the WCA in isolation to also claim Section B benefits. In order to rely on section 11(5) of the WCA, the worker must exercise a right of action under section 11(1) or 12(3) of the WCA. The Plaintiff, having met the requirements by electing to bring a civil action, is therefore entitled to Section B benefits. 

Link: https://canlii.ca/t/k308l

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