FTLComm - Tisdale - July 4, 2000

operational methods of Saskatchewan's WCB

This last while Mario deSantis and I have both commented in Ensign on the SGI no-fault insurance scheme. The programme was introduced into Saskatchewan five years ago as a money saving measure. It appears that SGI adopted both the attitude and operational methods of Saskatchewan's Workers Compensation Board. Not having had a car crash or anyone in my family having experience such a problem meant that we were oblivious to this change in the insurance programme that we have subscribed to unquestioningly.

voices of those injured

Over the years since this system of handling injury claims came into effect there developed a serious rumble as individuals discovered that the insurance they had purchased and assumed that other drivers were caring would protect them in case of mishap. But it appears that just as workers in Saskatchewan receive virtually no coverage at the work place if they are injured, that has become the situation if you are injured in a motor vehicle crash. The voices of those injured in accidents have been rising as they complain of things that frankly seem unbelievable to most of us, but it appears that there is a different reality now present in our province and it has happen pretty much without our knowledge, that is, unless we were a victim of a car accident.

this issue
shook him

On June 10 there was hearing held in Prince Albert by the Coalition against no-fault insurance and our intrepid report, Mario deSantis was at that hearing. The next day he sent me an e-mail stating that sometime in the future he would write about it but right then he was simply overwhelmed with what he had experience. Now for those of you who have read Ensign you have noticed that Mario is not a quiet retiring fellow, but a person with strong beliefs in what is right and wrong, and is never afraid to speak his mind even if that places him in jeopardy. But this issue shook him to the core.

inhuman treatment of people

Since then, I have seen Mario's stories on the issue and listened to others tell me and explain what the Saskatchewan Government Insurance company is doing when it comes to injured people, but I must admit their stories have just been so extreme that I could not imagine people I know and meet each day treating people in such a cruel and truly unacceptable manner. Tisdale is home to a fairly important SGI Claim Centre and I have written about my own concerns about the operation in the past, but that was just over property issues. Now I am hearing that adjusters are being equated with torturers and violent criminals in their inhuman treatment of people injured in car accidents.

transcript of
the June 10th hearing

A few days ago I received the transcript of the June 10th hearing in Prince Albert and carefully read through the testimony given at that time from both injured individuals and from medical experts and the most shocking report of all, from Prince Albert barrister Larry Zatlyn. Now I understand why Mario deSantis was so affected by his experience at that hearing.

read it through yourself

There is no need for you to take my word for any of this because I have prepared the whole transcript of the hearing so you can simply read it through yourself. Word for word you can read the statements from a whole range of people who have been cheated, lied to and abused by you.

barest minimum in care

Yes sports fans you. The government of Saskatchewan acts on your behalf and in your name, it is the owner and operator of the Government Insurance company and like it or not, on your behalf injured wounded people are being terribly mistreated to save a buck and with the no-fault scheme there is nothing they can do but go on welfare. Their insurance and that which you and I have on our cars and vehicles only covers the physical property involved. You may kill and maim as you please in our province because the insurance programme is now structured to let all suffering be charged to Medicare as the adjusters, people you and I know personally, close files and claim that SGI is not responsible for what happened to them. All the money we are spending on third party liability insurance is being taken by SGI in a totally fraudulent manner as no one is being given anything but the barest minimum in care and treatment as a result of their injuries, injuries they thought they were insured for.

disregards the court's ruling

In the testimony given Dale Collis tells of his injury, his winning a court appeal and SGI still repeatedly cut him off from benefits his story is truly amazing but substantiated. The Saskatchewan Government Insurance company disregards the court's ruling, ignores medical evidence and denies assistance to the man while destroying his life.

viscous devastatingly cruel behaviour

The reason whiplash and the Cassidy report figure so much in the discussions about SGI's no-fault programme is that it is one of those areas where SGI can stick to its "no compensation for pain and suffering" policy. It is remarkable that they would do this, one wonders at their motivation because doing harm and hurting someone in pain seems beyond anything any of us would accept as appropriate human behaviour. Yet time and time through the transcripts we see repeated examples of viscous devastatingly cruel behaviour by your employees.


The one area that sickened me as I read this transcript was how the Saskatchewan Government Insurance company hires and employs individuals who place injured people under surveillance Bonnie Gerow of Prince Albert describes these people stalking her and her children using video tape and invasion of her privacy while she is in pain and suffering from motor vehicle accident trauma. She was hardly the only person to speak of this as almost every victim was subjected to costly investigations added up to more then they would have received in compensation.

Canadian Charter of Rights

From the victims you can read how Saskatchewan Government Insurance adjusters practice medicine deciding what kind of treatment people need, when they are cured and what sort of lives they should live. The Canadian Charter of Rights appears to have been totally suspended when it comes to your government and its insurance company.

Prince Albert City Policeman

Some of the stories in the transcript are savagely cruel and sad like that of Ken Hidlebaugh who's teenage daughter was run down on the sidewalk and has suffered massive brain damage and associated personality changes. Believe it or not this man, a Prince Albert City Policeman has had to fight and lose, attempting to get care and support for his disabled daughter.

lack of support and assistance

A mother and her daughter told their story of the trauma of an accident to their family but then had the added trauma and additional suffering caused by the lack of support and assistance from what they had considered adequate insurance.


Two politicians, both opposition members made it to the hearing, Ben Heppner from Rosthern and Prince Albert MLA Daryl Wiberg


Because whiplash injury is so much a part of car accidents and is related to inability to return to normal life after an accident one of the speakers was an eminent Toronto specialist, Dr. Gale, dealing with kind of injury. His presentation is a university lecture on the state of whiplash injury and if you suffer from this kind of problem you could benefit from reading over his definitive speech.

spinal injury

To put the world of spinal injury into perspective you really need to read Joanne Person's description of her problems and her outrageous conflict with SGI over home care and forms of therapy.

only turning profits

One of the most impressive and aggressive speakers of the hearing was B.C. accountant Gordon Adair who headed up an effective resistance to no-fault when it was being attempted in BC. Adair's knowledge and experience makes him credible and he points out that in Saskatchewan the no-fault programme has not reduced spending, not reduced premiums and is only turning profits over to SGI's two companies. He also discussed in the question period class action and why it can not be launched here in Saskatchewan.

adjusters mistreat everyone

A lady from the Big River Reserve was surprised that the treatment she and her family received from SGI was similar to what others received as she thought it was just racial prejudice. It seems that the Government Insurance adjusters mistreat everyone equally.

nature of no-fault

Rancher and farmer Tom Cartier really explains what the nature of no-fault is all about and how the adjusters play games to further degrade the injured person. Cartier's substance in his community illustrated that the no-fault programme was itself mostly to blame for the problems experienced.

no fear of
being sued

Up until now the problems these people experienced was though sad not personal, it was barrister Larry Zatlyn, the eminent Prince Albert lawyer who spelled out the chronic limitations of the no-fault programme and how a person like myself would be better not to survive a serious crash because it would result in a living death for me. Though I pretend to be in business my earnings are very low and often I just barely break even. This would mean that if injured I would get nothing to live on. Like a farmer, a retired senior citizen, a person on welfare, a housewife, injury under no-fault means obliteration. If you read nothing else of this transcript read Larry Zatlyn's speech because you will discover that we are all in very deep trouble because major companies and manufacturers are now no longer at risk if their equipment disassembled in front of you on the road, you get injured or kills and they have .

to do

Larry Zatlyn points out the obvious connection between our failure to do something about the injustice of the Workers Compensation Board as the government got away with it and now have moved on to get us with another public assault.

Theresa Charpentier

One of the speakers is one of the provinces advocates for workers injured in the work place and their individual struggles with the Workers Compensation. Theresa Charpentier spoke with personal experience in her fight and now provides assistance to others both struggling with WCB and with SGI.

the victim is on his own

One of the stories told was that of former CN employee Joseph Hnatiw who went through the legal processes as he tried to get a reasonable settlement and he reflected on the present system where SGI has lawyers and the victim is on his own.

there is a problem here

The transcript includes other valuable stories I have not mentioned but if you can work your way through them I am certain that like me you will come to realise that there is a problem here that should not exist.


Timothy W. Shire