News that the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) recently eliminated their long standing mediation backlog came as a surprise to many this past August. On September 30th the Law Times did an article featuring this announcement titled, Lawyers Surprised at Elimination of FSCO Mediation Backlog.
It was announced on August 19th, 2013 that FSCO changed their procedures and integrated the involvement of an outside contractor ADR Chambers to turn things around with their backlog. This announcement took many lawyers by surprise as wait times for accident benefit cases were extremely backlogged for the past few years. This article highlighted how many lawyers believe that this achievement is a game changer since there will no longer be an issue of having no mediation, or a case deemed failure due to the backlog.Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers very own, Charles Gluckstein was quoted in this issue saying,
"Were basically feeling that if the mediation system operates as it is now, it will still serve a beneficial function. Given that 65-70 percent of claims settle at mediation, we would hate to clog up the system of arbitration with those claims unnecessarily. We would prefer an opt-out system. There are lots of claims where FSCO mediation is not appropriate, for example, where weve already tried to discuss it and the insurer is entrenched. Catastrophic claims are rarely dealt with successfully by FSCO mediation. It should be possible to opt-out without the consent of the insurer and without a reason. Simply moving on to the next phase would be more efficient.
The result of the elimination of FSCOs mediation backlog seems to be a positive one. It appears the focus has now been shifted to the current arbitration system, to which Charles said,
There is nothing wrong with the way the arbitration wing functions. It has been successful and popular because FSCO arbitrators have a strong working knowledge of the ins and outs of the Insurance Act. That is the reason people choose arbitration instead of court.
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers will continue to update you with any changes as they become available!
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1. Law Times Article September 30, 2013