Accident benefits will be impacted by marijuana legalization

Published: November 20, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The federal government will introduce legislation in 2018 to legalize recreation marijuana use throughout Canada. While welcome by many, there is also great concern how the legalization will affect the insurance industry. One lawyer told Canadian Underwriter the “resultant effect upon the accident benefits and damages recovered by those involved in motor vehicle accidents.”

For Ontario, Section 4.4 of the Ontario Automobile Policy excludes entitlement to income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits and other expenses when a claimant is convicted of a criminal offence whilst driving.

“As well, in personal injury claims, where an individual brings a claim against a driver who was found to be impaired at the time an accident occurs, an insurer will be in a position to restrict the responding policy limits to the statutory minimum of $200,000 on the basis that the impaired driver was in breach of the policy conditions,” Jennifer Huneault, a partner at Hughes Amys LLP said.

“To add to that, should a driver get into an accident when found to be impaired by THC,” Huneault said referring to the chemical compound in cannabis, “their auto insurer is also on solid footing to deny any claims they bring for repairs to their own vehicle.”