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AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE - Accident benefits - Death benefits - Deductions

Thursday, March 18, 2021 @ 6:20 AM  

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Appeal by Charles from the dismissal of his action against Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI). Because of his father’s passing, the appellant became entitled to a lump sum death benefit from SGI. The appellant commenced an action after SGI deducted $7,315 the appellant owed it from the benefit and paid him the difference. Most of the debt was incurred in 2008. The chambers judge found SGI’s statutory authority under s. 11.1 of the Automobile Accident Insurance Act (AAIA) to make the deduction was not barred by the general two-year limitation period.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. A proper interpretation of the two legislative schemes led to the conclusion that SGI’s power to deduct funds under s. 11.1 of the AAIA was not limited by a limitation period under s. 5 of the Limitations Act. The purpose of s. 11.1 of the AAIA was to provide SGI with an efficient and effective method by which to recover amounts owing to it by a debtor, such as the appellant, when it became liable to pay amounts out to that same debtor. The section was drafted broadly and clearly and did not place a temporal limit on its use. The straight-forward text of s. 11.1, read in the context of the entire Act, indicated that in creating the collection method, the Legislature chose to not limit the time period over which it could be used. SGI’s exercise of its powers under s. 11.1 of the AAIA was not a proceeding within the meaning of s. 5 of the Limitations Act.

Charles v. Saskatchewan Government Insurance, [2021] S.J. No. 21, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, R.K. Ottenbreit, R. Leurer and J.A. Tholl JJ.A., January 21, 2021. Digest No. TLD-March152021008