Report No. 85
Saskatchewan Legislation.- The Saskatchwan Automobile Insurance Act, provides1 that "every person is hereby insured" against loss resulting from bodily injury sustained in an accident while driving or riding in a moving motor vehicle in Saskatchewan, or as a result of a collision with or being run over by a motor vehicle, regardless of fault.2 The certificate of insurance projects not only the person named in the certificate, but also any other person in Saskatchewan riding in the vehicle while it is being operated by a properly licenced driver. Any person injured, who is not named as an insured, is also deemed to be a party to the contract and to have given consideration therefor, and is protected. The certificate itself protects all persons domiciled in Saskatchewan injured while driving or riding in a vehicle outside Saskatchewan anywhere on the North American continent.3
Protection under the Saskatchewan Act is coincidental with the licencing of the vehicle and the issue of a driver's licence, the premium being paid at the time when such licences are issued. A resident of the province will lose the protection of the Act only-
(1) where he is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs to such extent as to be incapable of property controlling the vehicle;
(2) where he drives without a licence or in a vehicle not properly registered; and
(3) where he rides on a part of the vehicle not designed to seal passengers or carry a load.4
1. Note in (1961) 39 Can Bar Rev 107, 110.
2. S.S., 1946, C. 11, section 12(1), now R.S.S., 1953, C. 371, section 19(1).
3. R.S.S., 1953, C. 371, section 19(2).
4. R.S.S., 1953, C. 371, sections 29-30.
Fund created to cover the scheme.- This coverage (in Saskatchewan) is secured under an exclusive provincial insurance fund. All drivers and car owners must pay for government insurance annually, concurrently with their applications for renewal of licences and registrations. The terms of the insurance contract are contained in the statute, and the registration certificate of the driver's licence, coupled with the statute, constitute the only "policy of insurance". This lapses with the expiration of the licence and registration.1
The law is administered by the Saskatchewan Government Insurance Office, a Crown corporation, which was first incorporated by an Act of the legislature for the purpose of effecting insurance in competition with private companies.2 In respect of its functions under the Automobile Accident Insurance Act, procedure resembles that of an administrative board under workmen's compensation legislation. The scheme in Saskatchewan has been amended several times and is now found as the Automobile Accident Insurance Act of 1963, 5 Rev. State Saskatchewan, Ch. 409 (1965). The full statutory text requires some 60 pages.3 A brief sketch of its provisions follows4:-
(i) All drivers are required, as a condition of driving, to secure a certificate of insurance by paying a basic premium; paragraphs 3(1), 3(5).
(ii) All insurance is provided by the Saskatchewan Government Insurance Office; paragraph 2(p).
(iii) For his premium the driver buys, in effect, three kinds of coverage: accident protection (Part II), property loss (collision, theft, casualty) protection (Part III), and liability insurance (Part IV).
(iv) It is the accident Insurance that is the key to the compensation plan. It provides accident coverage for "every person" suffering bodily injury from the use or operation of a motor vehicle.
(v) There is an elaborate schedule of benefits. For total disability, the maximum benefit is 25 per week for a maximum period of 104 weeks, paragraph 22(2); for partial disability, the amount is $ 12.50 per week, paragraph 22(3). In case of death the benefits are $ 5,000 for the primary dependant and $ 1,000 to each secondary dependant; if the decedent (deceased) way a housewife, the award is $ 2,000; and if a child, it varies from $ 100 to $ 1,000 depending on the age of the child, paragraph 24.
(vi) Common law actions for negligence are left intact by the Act, subject to deduction of any accident insurance benefits paid under the Act, paragraph 77.
(vii) Since the province has an independent scheme of health insurance, it is not necessary for this Act to cover medical expenses resulting from auto accidents.
1. R.S.S., 1953, C. 371, section 19(2).
2. R.S.S., 1953, C. 371, sections 3, 4 and 5.
3. Gregory & Kalven Cases and Materials on Torts, (1969), p. 898.
4. For details, see Keeton and O'Connell Basic Protection for the Traffic Victim, (1965), pp. 140-148.