Skip to main content

BC Court of Appeal Weighs in on ICBC's LVI Program and Human Rights

In reasons for judgement released today the BC Court of Appeal dealt with the issue of whether ICBC’s LVI Program violates Human Rights in BC.
In today’s case the Appellant was involved in a BC Car Crash.  He allegedly was injured and brought a tort claim against the other motorist.  ICBC, as is often the case in BC Car Crash cases, was the insurer for both the Appellant and the other motorist.  In the course of defending the tort claim ICBC relied on their LVI Program and denied that any compensable injury took place.
The Appellant brought a human rights complaint claiming that ICBC’s LVI Program was a ‘discriminatory practice’.   In response ICBC brought a motion seeking to have the complaint dismissed on the basis that it had ‘no reasonable prospect of success”.  The Human Rights Tribunal dismissed ICBC’s application. ICBC appealed to the BC Supreme Court and the Court held that the Tribunal was wrong and indeed the Appellant’s complaint had no reasonable chance of success.
The appellant brought this matter to the BC Court of Appeal.  The Court of Appeal agreed that the claim was ‘patently unreasonable’ and that the Appellant’s Human Rights Tribunal Complaint should have been dismissed.
Below I reproduce the key portions of the Court of Appeal’s reasoning:

[16] The issue before the Tribunal was a straightforward one. Mr. Yuan’s claim was placed in the LVI program because he was involved in a low-speed collision. As the chambers judge pointed out, nothing in the Human Rights Code serves to protect people from being treated differently by reason of the speed of collision that they are involved in.

[17] The tribunal member confused the issue by referring to the matter as one that might be characterized as discrimination on the basis of physical disability. This characterization was erroneous for two reasons. Firstly, the Code does not protect anyone from being discriminated against on the basis that he or she suffers no disability. It does not, in other words, prevent anyone from treating the disabled better than those who are not disabled.

[18] Just as importantly, it cannot be said that an insurance company, whose contractual and statutory duties are to compensate those who suffer disabilities as a result of motor vehicle accidents, “discriminates” when it treats those who it perceives as having compensable injuries differently from those who it perceives as uninjured. That sort of differentiation is the very function of the corporation; it does not constitute discrimination.

[19] In the result, it is obvious that Mr. Yuan’s claim had no reasonable prospect of success. Indeed, it had no prospect of success at all; it was entirely misconceived. That, however, is not the issue that was before the Supreme Court on judicial review.

Human Rights, ICBC v. Yuan, ICBC's LVI program, low velocity impact program