Matheson v. Lewis et al. 2014 ONCA 542
Courts - Insurance - Motor Vehicles - Statutes
The plaintiff, a farmer, was injured while driving an uninsured all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on a public road when he was struck from behind by a truck. The farmer and his family members (the plaintiffs) commenced an action against the driver of the truck, the truck owner and the farmer’s own automobile insurer (the defendants). The plaintiffs brought a pre-trial motion to determine whether their action was statute barred by s. 267.6(1) of the Insurance Act. Section 267.6(1) precluded a claim for damages if the injured person was operating an uninsured motor vehicle on a highway contrary to s. 2(1) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act. The plaintiffs also sought a declaration that their claims against their insurer, Lanark Mutual Insurance Co., were not foreclosed by operation of s. 30(1)(a) of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule. Section 30(1)(a) provided that an insurer was not required to pay various benefits in respect of an injured driver who knew or ought reasonably to have known that he or she was operating an automobile without motor vehicle liability insurance.
The Ontario Superior Court, in a decision reported  O.T.C. Uned. 2441, held that the ATV was a “self-propelled implement of husbandry” and was therefore excluded from Ontario’s compulsory insurance regime. Consequently, neither s. 267.6(1) of the Insurance Act nor s. 30(1)(a) of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, applied to bar the plaintiffs’ claims. The defendants appealed.
The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the appeal based on the conclusion the ATV was not a self-propelled implement of husbandry but an off-road vehicle that had to be insured when operated by a farmer on a public road. The court held that the action was statute-barred by operation of s. 267.6(1) of the Insurance Act and the claims against Lanark Mutual for statutory accident benefits were foreclosed by operation of s. 30(1)(a) of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.