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Report No. 85

Canada-Saskatchewan.- In one of the Provinces in Canada, the legislation does the whole way. The Province of Saskatchewan was the first to legislate on the subject of no fault compensation. In 1946 was passed an Act which (as amended) is the Automobile Accident Insurance Act, 1963-19641 of Saskatchewan.

Under this statute, drivers are required to purchase insurance from a Government insurance office, which, in turn, provides a fixed scale of compensation, without the need to establish fault, for accident victims, including drivers. This is not an exclusive method of recovery, and the victim may sue to obtain additional compensation upon the ordinary common law principles. The amount paid under the scheme is deducted from any verdict obtained at common law. The drunken, the uninsured or the suicidal driver is excluded from the benefits. The Saskatchewan plan was not directed to relieving court congestion or to meeting criticisms against the trial of automobile cases by judge or jury.

The frequency of motor accidents accounts for legislation in Saskatchewan providing for payment of a fixed and limited amount of compensation to the injured party regardless of negligence.2 Its self-advertised primary object was to prevent destitution resulting to persons injured by automobile accidents by guaranteeing the recovery of some sum by the injured. Periodical payments are featured during disability. Its scale of benefits is law, e.g., $ 5,000 for the primary defendant in the case of death.

Under the Saskatchewan scheme, an application for a vehicle registration or for a driving licence must be accompanied by a certificate of accident insurance, the insurer being the provincial government insurance officer. Persons injured by the operation of motor vehicles may, under the terms of this insurance, recover specified benefits without proof of fault. The scheme, as a general rule (with exceptions as to drunken driving, driving without licence and certain other social circumstances), reduces liability based on fault as regards the owner and the operator as already stated. Claims based on negligence are not eliminated.3

1. Mr. Justice Herron and Mr. Justice Aspray, Paper on Motor Car and the Law, p. 12. Commonwealth Law Conference, 1965

2. See (1952) 66 Harvard Law Review 191.

3. Mr. Mustice Herron and Mr. Justice Aspray, Paper on Motor Car and the Law, p. 12 (Commonwealth Law Conference, 1965).

Claims for Compensation under Chapter 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 Back

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