Andrew Leroy Rudder persuaded the Ontario government to amend a law with discriminatory ramifications against children who sustained severe traumatic brain injuries from motor vehicle accidents.
Almost 3 years ago, after Rudder’s teenage client sustained a catastrophic traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures from a tragic motor vehicle accident, he dug deep into arcane legalities to get a catastrophic impairment designation for her, which increased her policy limits from $65,000 to $1 million. As Rudder did so, he discovered a provincial bureaucratic and legal glitch, so obscure that no one even knew it existed, which had the adverse effect of regional or geographical discrimination against children with catastrophic impairments. Rudder made a promise to himself to change the law, so similar children throughout the entire province won’t be negatively impacted.
Almost 3 years later, Rudder made good on his promise.
After Rudder proved that after taking a modern approach to statutory interpretation, the Superintendent’s Guideline No. 01/16 interpretation of s. 3.1(5)i of the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule (SABS 34/10), didn’t harmoniously coincide with the objectives and scheme of the Insurance Act, and the intention of Parliament, in general, and the purpose and objectives of the new catastrophic impairment (CAT) definition for children, in particular, he took action to change the law to impact the entire province of Ontario. After he demonstrated that the use of the Guideline as an interpretative aid would result in outcomes in the CAT designation process that are unfair, unreliable, inaccurate, inconsistent and unpredictable, and ultimately have discriminatory ramifications based on geography against children who sustained catastrophic traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in motor vehicle accidents (MVA), he contacted the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRAO) to recommend his changes.
FSRAO is the independent regulatory agency created to improve consumer protections in Ontario, and they administer, regulate, and supervise the Insurance Act, amongst other provincial legislations.
Rudder met with representatives of FSRAO, including Ann MacKenzie (Senior Manager, Policy Interpretation – Auto/Insurance Productions), and persuaded FRSRAO to accept one of his recommendations to amend the Superintendent Guideline’s No. 01/16, in order to eliminate or significantly restrain its discriminatory ramifications. The amendment to the Guideline that FSRAO accepted was the inclusion of all Level 1 Trauma Centres further to the Lead Trauma Hospitals accredited by the Critical Care Services of Ontario, which is the managing body that’s responsible for the overall program implementation of the Critical Care Strategy and the Ontario Critical Care Plan. This change will impact the entire province of Ontario.
FSRAO officially reissued the Guideline on Saturday, the 17th day of October, 2020, which can be found at the following URL link:
Therefore, the old Superintendent’s Guideline No. 01/16 that had discriminator ramifications based on geography, is has been replaced by the new “Guideline on Public Hospitals and Determination of Catastrophic Impairment” (effective October 19th, 2020), which can be found at the following URL link:
Rudder realized that one successful decision for one of his underage clients with a catastrophic TBI will only impact one child and one family, but changing the law will have a positive impact on all children who sustained severe TBIs from MVAs throughout the entire province of Ontario.
Rudder intimately understands that as a lawyer who advocates for social justice, not just for his client but also for society at large, one must not merely operate within the confines of what the law currently is, but rather look into the future to see what the law ought to be, and then fight to put persuasive pressure on the legislators and politicians to change the law now.