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AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE - Compulsory government schemes

Monday, February 25, 2019 @ 10:37 AM  

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Appeal by the defendant from a decision of a motion judge determining that the respondent’s CPP disability benefits were not deductible from any future loss of income or loss of earning capacity award pursuant to s. 113A of the Insurance Act. The respondent was injured in a motor vehicle accident with the appellant. Because of the injuries suffered in the motor vehicle accident, she received CPP disability benefits. The motion judge concluded that the question of deducting future CPP disability benefits from an award of future lost earnings remained to be determined after the decision in the Tibbetts case and interpreted s. 113 as not providing for the deduction of CPP benefits from future loss of income or loss of earning capacity award.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The motion judge erred in his interpretation of Tibbetts and s. 113A. In Tibbets, the Court of Appeal fully endorsed the trial judge’s interpretation of s. 113A, including his deduction of CPP disability benefits from the damages for loss of earning capacity. The proper interpretation of this Court’s decision in Tibbetts was that both past and future CPP disability benefits were deductible under s. 113A provided the section’s other requirements were met. Tibbetts was indistinguishable from this case and the motion judge was bound to follow it. The motion judge did not correctly interpret the text of s. 113A in context by failing to examine whether the text of s. 113A could be read harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention of the Legislature. He did not conduct a purposive analysis to determine if there was an interpretation of s. 113A which would operate in harmony with the Legislature’s intention. Limiting the deduction of CPP disability payments to only those amounts that were paid or could have been paid before trial frustrated the Legislature’s purpose. The motion judge erred by focusing on a textual analysis to the detriment of a broader and purposive contextual analysis. Reading s. 113A in its proper context led to the conclusion that s. 113A required the deduction of future CPP payments. On a proper and purposive analysis of section 113A, all CPP disability benefits that were available in respect of the accident must be deducted from the respondent’s damages for income loss or loss of earning capacity. This was the only way to give full effect to and to comprehensively promote the intention of the Legislature to eliminate double recovery.

Holland v. Sparks, [2019] N.S.J. No. 20, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, D.P.S. Farrar, J.W.S. Saunders, M.J. Hamilton, J.E. Fichaud and A.S. Derrick JJ.A., January 18, 2019. Digest No. TLD-February252019001