New boiler inspection rules coming to Ontario agriculture.

An exemption from inspection rules for boilers and pressure vessels in Ontario’s agricultural sector is coming to an end.

Starting next year, boilers and pressure vessels will have to get a certificate of inspection from the province’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority, government and consumer services minister Lisa Thompson has announced.

As it stands, Ontario law prohibits the operation of boilers and pressure vessels without a certificate of inspection by the TSSA,  whose wide range of responsibilities also includes oil tanks, amusement park rides and elevators, among others. But for boilers and pressure vessels, there is an exemption from the inspection requirement for agricultural operations, such as greenhouses, mushroom farms, and maple syrup farms, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lyskyk noted in her 2018 report to the legislature.

That exemption ends next July, Ryan Jones, assistant vice president of loss control services at Cambridge-based Farm Mutal Re, said in an interview Monday.

“Generally, it’s a good idea to implement more rigour around how we use boilers and pressure vessels in Ontario,” said Jones, who learned of the exemption last week in a letter from Thompson to members of a government and consumer services ministry panel.

Ontario’s Technical Standard and Safety Authority Act gives the government and consumer services minister the power to “exempt any thing or part of any thing or any class of thing or any class of person from any provision of this Act.”  The minister’s exemption applying to boilers and pressure vessels in the agricultural sector was issued in 2001. That exemption is revoked effective July 1, 2021, says a July 17, 2020 letter from Thompson, posted to the TSSA website.

As a result, going forward, a periodic inspection would need be performed by either TSSA or the insurer of the boiler or pressure vessel, Jones told Canadian Underwriter.

“The biggest impact will probably be the greenhouse industry. Greenhouses have power generation, they have boilers. And most of those operations are larger than your standard Kitchener-Waterloo manufacturing facility, as far as the steam they are producing.”

Right now, there is a risk that operators may not necessarily understand the requirements, such as maintaining safety valves over pressure protection devices, said Jones. So without the inspection requirement, there is a risk that if a device catastrophically fails, safety devices may not operate as they should.

“Conversely,” he added, “you could see objects being operated in a dangerous condition continuously because the operators are unaware of the condition in which they are operating boilers.”

The auditor general recommended lifting the exemption in 2018.

“Information provided to the TSSA by one large insurer revealed that from 2015 to mid-2017, six boilers exploded at agricultural sites exempt from safety laws,” Lysyk wrote in her 2018 report.

#Insurance, #Ontario, #YQG, #Broker, #OGVG

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Windsor company to produce two million face shields

Medical face shields produced at Western University. Photo courtesy of

A Windsor company has risen to the challenge issued by the federal government to help fight COVID-19.

Windsor Mold Group, a locally-based consortium with offices in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, has signed a contract with the federal government to produce two million face shields for health care workers who are in the trenches of the war against the novel coronavirus.

According to a release from Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, the technology employed by Windsor Mold Group helped them secure a contract ahead of thousands of other suitors.

“It is inspiring to see a local company like Windsor Mold Group step up to produce equipment that will protect our frontline healthcare workers in our community and across Canada,” said Kusmierczyk. “To adapt their manufacturing operations and get the proper approvals so quickly is a challenging task, and it speaks to the tremendous talent and determination of our manufacturing sector across Windsor and Essex County.”

Windsor Mold Group will also produce thousands of headbands for health care workers.

According to the release, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) received over 30,000 proposals from Canadian businesses and manufacturers looking to help in the battle against COVID-19. PSPC is working in cooperation with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.


Aviva to start using credit info as auto rating factor in this province.

Aviva Insurance Company of Canada and Traders General Insurance Company have permission to use consumers’ credit information as an auto rating factor, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board announced Monday.

Insurers are specifically prohibited from using credit information as an auto rating factor in both Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, the NSURB noted.

But in Nova Scotia, Aviva and Traders (which is part of the Aviva group) proposed to add a “responsibility factor.” This means Aviva and Traders would use customer credit information as a new rating factor. Before giving Aviva the green light, NSURB considered whether current Nova Scotia regulations, which do not specifically prohibit the practice, nonetheless preclude auto insurers from using credit scores to rate auto.

The board considered Section 2 of Nova Scotia Regulation 183/2003, Matters Considered in Automobile Insurance Rates and Risk-Classification Systems Regulations, which says a rating factor may not be subjective, arbitrary, contrary to public policy, or one that “bears little or no relationship to the potential risk to be assumed by the insurer.”

In giving Aviva the go-head, NSURB took into account Aviva’s assurance that a customer would not be required to provide credit information in order to obtain insurance.

“A customer may be able to obtain a better rate if [credit rating] information is provided, but won’t be denied insurance if they do not. Considering all of this, and in the absence of specific evidence providing a justification for doing otherwise, the board finds that approving the proposed rating variable would not be contrary to public policy,” NSURB member Stephen McGrath wrote for the board in its ruling.

The board ordered Aviva and Traders to provide an update on whether experience emerges as expected for the responsibility factor when they start the next round of rate approvals this December.

In Ontario, insurers may use credit scores to rate home insurance but not auto. The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario opposes the use of credit scores to rate home or auto insurance. IBAO has said in the past that it is not clear to brokers exactly how the credit scores are used and that credit rating has nothing to do with the risk that is being covered.

For their part, insurers tend to argue there is a statistical correlation between how insureds manage their personal finances, as represented by the consumer credit score, and the likelihood that they will have to make an insurance claim. For example, if insureds are careful managing their finances, they are also more likely to be diligent in other areas of their lives, such as doing regular maintenance and upkeep on their personal property, as insurance company CEOs have explained the correlation to Canadian Underwriter in the past.

In Nova Scotia, Aviva supplied confidential data supporting its argument that credit information is predictive of risk in property insurance and that this would carry over to auto insurance, McGrath wrote.

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Ins and Outs of Travel Insurance Amid Coronavirus Outbreak.

VANCOUVER – Travellers nervous about globe-trotting during the novel coronavirus outbreak may be eligible to receive a refund for cancelling their travels, say insurance experts, but it depends on the destination, their insurance policy and other factors.

“I think in any case of sort of an epidemic like this, it’s really an evolving situation and every day is different, something new happens,” said Joan Weir, director of health and disability policy for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. CLHIA represents 99 per cent of the country’s life and health insurance companies, according to its website.

Travel insurers watch the unfolding situation very carefully, she said, and the association is frequently checking in with all its members about what they’re experiencing.

There are now more than 31,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, according to the World Health Organization.

The bulk of these are in China, where there have also been 637 deaths. Across 24 other countries, there are 270 confirmed cases and one death. There are five confirmed cases in Canada.

The WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency in late January.

The Canadian government issued a Level 3 advisory for China, asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel. There is only one higher level, which advises travellers to avoid all travel.

The government recommends people avoid travelling to Hubei Province, where Wuhan city is located. The province has recorded 22,112 of China’s 31,211 coronavirus cases, according to the WHO.

As soon as the Canadian government declares a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory, a person may cancel their upcoming trip and their insurance should cover any lost expenses, said Weir.

“You’d have to submit receipts,” she said, but travellers should receive refunds for flights, hotels and other costs.

Trips booked before the government issues these advisories are often covered by travel insurance, said an emailed statement from the insurance company RSA Canada.

“Trips booked after this point are not eligible for medical coverage or trip cancellation/interruption coverage.”

Allianz Global Assistance Canada, which declined to comment due to “how quickly the current coronavirus is evolving and the changing advisories” from Canada’s government and others, posted a notice on its website to customers about the outbreak indicating booking timing mattered for coverage eligibility.

People travelling to China whose trip cancellation benefits kick in if the government issues a Level 3 advisory would be eligible to submit a claim if they purchased insurance before Jan. 29, when the government issued its advisory, according to the statement.

For those who do qualify, it doesn’t matter whether their trip is next week or in six months, said Weir.

However, the destination matters. While 24 countries have confirmed coronavirus cases, Canada’s travel advisory applies only to China. That means a person who feels uncomfortable travelling to any of the other countries won’t be able to get a refund for cancelling their trip, she said.

That is, unless they purchased what’s known as cancel-for-any-reason insurance, she said, which does exactly what the name implies.

Those who haven’t purchased any travel insurance may still be able to secure a refund, Weir noted, as many major credit cards offer some kind of coverage.

“But it depends on which credit card you have and what the benefits are,” she said. “So it’s good to know what your credit card covers for trip cancellation, for trip health, all that.”

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2020.


Out of country OHIP cut has Windsor-Essex travellers worried

Basic OHIP benefits for out of country travel are set to be discontinued on Jan. 1, 2020

Basic OHIP benefits for out of country travel are set to be discontinued on Jan. 1, 2020.

Windsorites are able to travel to Detroit so easily that many don’t think of obtaining out-of-country health insurance.

At the moment, Ontario’s OHIP insurance system covers $400-per-day for out-of-country inpatient treatments, with an additional $50-per-day for emergency outpatient and doctor services.

But that’s set to change on Jan. 1, 2020, when only kidney dialysis will be covered up to a maximum of $210 per day when out of the country.

Dina Mejalli, a partner at the Greg Monforton and Partners law firm who has helped Windsor clients obtain legal representation in the U.S. in liabilty claims due to accidents, said health care costs can be astronomical.

Mejalli said many snowbirds have lost their company benefits and now rely on private insurers.

“So their fear now is their premiums are going to increase because the Ontario government is cutting their minimal provision of benefits,” said Mejalli.

Windsor residents Martha and Dennis Willis live in Fort Myers, Fla. during the winter months. They lost their out-of-province benefits through their General Motors pensions, and now they’re worried their private insurance premiums will increase with the loss of OHIP coverage.

“Even travel in general is expensive. So now add the cost of out-of-province coverage on it and everything else that’s going to impact not even snowbirds but everybody I think,” said Martha Willis, from her home in Florida.

Sarah Hupalo, a travel agent with Goliger’s Travel Plus, said approximately $60 or $70 gets you one years’ worth of travel insurance at her organization. She said the price of the insurance sold by her company won’t increase because of the OHIP cut.

“Anything can happen and it’s very expensive. A 15-minute ambulance ride can be $10,000,” said Hupalo.

Waseem Jarjis is a law student at the University of Windsor who is enrolled in a joint program with the University of Detroit Mercy. He travels back and forth regularly, and thinks he might be covered under the Detroit university but isn’t certain.

“It might be nice to check my coverage now that these changes are coming about and see what I would have to do in that situation,” said Jarjis.

Windsor Regional Hospital sees more than 20 people each year who have come back from the U.S. after needing medical treatment there.

They believe American hospitals will discharge Canadians more quickly now that some OHIP coverage is drying up.

“Sometimes we find that insurance companies will exhaust the service in the US, so I think now with the changes that will be impacting the people of Ontario, I think we will see patients needing to come back sooner,” said Dr. Gina Bulcke, director of organizational effectiveness at Windsor Regional Hospital.

The province has already urged residents to get additional coverage sooner rather than later, because service costs covered by OHIP that pays for services in the U.S. isn’t usually enough.


  • A previous version of this story reported that out-of-province OHIP coverage is set to change on Jan. 1, 2020. Instead, out-of-country coverage is set to change on that date. The story has been updated to reflect these facts.Dec 05, 2019 2:53 PM ET


Windsor’s First Cannabis Store to Open November 1, 2019

Things should get rolling at Windsor’s first legal pot shop by the start of November.

Kyriakos (Kirk) Anastasiadis said Wednesday his new joint at 545 Ouellette Ave. should be past regulatory hurdles, renovated, stocked and open by Nov. 1.

“I’m just excited to get working on this and bringing some good business and positivity to the downtown Windsor core,” said Anastasiadis, 30, who owns several bars and restaurants in London.

Anastasiadis was one of 42 applicants selected in the most recent Ontario lottery last month to receive a retail pot store licence, assuming all the regulatory requirements are met.

A dozen of those applicants have since been disqualified for failing to submit required documents in time. Another one withdrew the application.

“I wasn’t disqualified, so that’s a good next step,” said Anastasiadis, who plans on moving to Windsor to run the store. “I got all my applications in, then the next step is they’re going to do an interview, and then it’s the build.”

As long as he passes the final inspections, Anastasiadis said he will be ready to go by the end of next month.

“In the application for the cannabis dispensary you have to propose a set date for inspection, and as of right now that is end of October, Nov. 1,” he said. “The AGCO is going to come in and do this inspection, then they’ll let you know if you’re ready to go or what changes you have to make to the store.”

One of his biggest jobs before November will be renovating the store.

“It’s a lot of cosmetic,” said Anastasiadis. “Rip out the floor and put a new floor in. Basically beautifying the place.”

The regulations require storeowners to have a vault for storing inventory, but Anastasiadis said that’s already taken care of.

“Being an old bank, there’s actually a vault built into it,” he said. “That takes a lot of the steps out of the way as long as the vault is up to code.”

Anastasiadis must officially receive his licence before buying inventory, but he said the product should arrive quickly once the order is in.

“They set you up with their wholesaler from the (Ontario Cannabis Store), then you put in your order,” he said. “They do weekly deliveries.”

That first order will likely be a big one.

“I believe the first order is allowed to be up to 100 kilos,” said Anastasiadis.

That includes all cannabis products from oils and mouth sprays to pre-rolled joints. Anastasiadis said he also plans to sell edibles once they hit the legal market.

#Windsorontario, #AandA, #Brokerisbest, #Cannabis, #Windsorpotshop


Electronic Pink Slips A Go

You can now show your proof of auto insurance electronically in Ontario

Pink auto insurance slips aren’t being eliminated yet, but new option being phased in over 1-year period.

Ontario drivers can now carry electronic proof of their auto insurance on their smartphones or other devices.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips said the pink paper insurance slip isn’t being eliminated yet, but being able to display the information on a phone will be more convenient for many drivers.

“We’ve all had enough paper in our lives, at least me, for one, I have experienced rummaging through the glove box, looking for that little pink slip,” Phillips said as he made the announcement on Thursday. “Well, as of today your rummaging days are over if you choose this electronic option.”

There will be a one-year phase-in period, when insurers will have to issue a paper card in addition to the electronic option if it is requested.Phillips said drivers in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador can already display their proof of insurance electronically. 

“With the proliferation of mobile devices and apps and various add ons, it only makes sense that drivers in Ontario can  take advantage of the same options that drivers in other provinces can,” he said.

Drained battery, damaged screen no excuse

The electronic cards will feature safeguards that won’t allow them to be altered or edited, and privacy concerns are top of mind, Phillips said.

Drivers will be responsible for making sure their phone can display the proof of insurance, even with a poor signal, drained battery or damaged screen. The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, speaking for Ontario’s new car dealers, welcomed the news.

“In this advanced, technological age we live in, there is no good reason why drivers must carry a paper copy for proof of insurance,” director of government relations Frank Notte said in a statement.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said consumers have digital options in other sectors such as banking and retail, so auto insurers are pleased their customers will have the same choice.

“We look forward to working with the government on other measures that will improve the auto insurance system for drivers,” the insurance bureau’s Ontario vice-president Kim Donaldson said in a statement.

Electronic proof of insurance was one of a number of ways the government signalled in its spring budget that it was going to reform auto insurance.

The province is also reverting back to the default benefit of $2 million for those who are catastrophically injured in a collision, after it dropped to $1 million three years ago.

#Windsorontario, #AandA, #Brokerisbest, #cbcwindsor


Tougher penalties for distracted driving in Ontario Jan. 1 2019

Stiffer fines and long-term consequences are coming for distracted drivers in Ontario in 2019.

Most drivers caught, talking, texting, dialling or emailing on a handheld device will be fined up to $1,000 — more than double the current fine.

Additional penalties include a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points. And that’s just the beginning.

“It’s really going to cost you, but there’s a reason for that,” said Const. Sean Ralph of the Ottawa police.

“It’s a major infraction right up there with impaired driving.”

Ontario is ringing in the new year with the new penalties, making it a good time for drivers to make a resolution to keep their hands off their devices while behind the wheel.

Ontario is ringing in the new year with the new penalties, making it a good time for drivers to make a resolution to keep their hands off their devices while behind the wheel.

For a second conviction within five years, the maximum fine rises to $2,000, plus six demerit points and a seven-day driver’s licence suspension.

More convictions within that five-year period would be an even bigger hit to the wallet at a fine up to $3,000, six demerit points and a 30-day suspension.

On top of that, convicted motorists can expect their insurance rates to go up.

Distracted drivers are the leading cause of fatal collisions in Ontario, according to police.

But in spite of safety campaigns, police crackdowns, and increased fines, texting and driving is still rampant.

“It’s really education through enforcement,” said Ralph, who hopes higher fines will change behaviour on the road.

“The last thing I want to do, especially this time of year, is do a death notification.”

Toughest penalties for new drivers

Drivers with a graduated (G1, G2, M1 or M2) licence face even harsher penalties.

Texting a friend? Answering a phone call? Looking up an address? If you’re doing any of those things behind the wheel, you’re breaking the law.

Those drivers face the same fines as more experienced drivers, plus:

  • 30-day licence suspensions for a first conviction,
  • 90-day licence suspensions for a second conviction,
  • licence cancellations for a third conviction.

The penalties are the same whether the motorist is using a cellphone while driving or sitting at a red light.

Ontario’s Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said last month these will be Canada’s toughest penalties for repeat distracted driving convictions.

The only exceptions are to call 911 in an emergency situation or when the driver is either lawfully parked or safely pulled off the road — which is only allowed on a 400-series highway for an emergency.