Featured Cases

Our Featured Cases are just a few examples of the many kinds of concerns that people can bring to our office. To read more examples, see our list of Featured Cases. For more information about what we do, or to contact us, see the "Make a Complaint" page.

The names of complainants have been changed to protect their identity.

 

Looking for Reasons

Correction Notice
There was an error in this story in Ombudsman Saskatchewan’s Annual Report 2013 (pages 8-9). There was, in fact, no delay in the time it took for SGI to send the appeal notice to the Highway Traffic Board, so these references have been removed from the corrected version, which follows.  We apologize for the error and thank SGI for bringing this to our attention.

The street was icy and rutted when Forrest lost control of his vehicle and ran into a parked car. He submitted a claim to SGI and was found to be at fault for the accident. As a result, he lost six safety points. Forrest believed that he had been driving carefully. He disagreed with the point reduction and decided to appeal the decision to the Highway Traffic Board.

Forrest tried to prepare for the appeal by finding out what kind of evidence the Board would need to consider.  He understood from the Highway Traffic Board’s website that he would need to prove that there had been “extenuating circumstances,” which were defined as something “out of the ordinary.” He found the definition vague and was unable to garner any further details from staff.

When the Board upheld SGI’s decision to reduce Forrest’s safety points, he did not understand why. He asked for a written decision from the Board, but was not satisfied with the letter he received, so he contacted our office.

We conducted a formal review and found that, following each hearing, the Board provides a verbal decision to the appellant. Written decisions are not provided to everyone, but can be requested. Given the volume and nature of the hearings, we found that this practice was not unreasonable. In Forrest’s case, the letter he received did not provide the understanding that he was seeking about why his appeal had been denied.

Further details in the Board’s files indicated that it found the road conditions were not unusual for that time of year in Saskatchewan and that drivers are expected to exercise due caution. The written decision provided to Forrest did not include this explanation.

We noted that it is important that those who receive written decisions be provided with enough information to help them understand the reasons for the decision. We requested that the Board follow up with Forrest to provide any information that he was still seeking and we made the following recommendation.

Recommendation
That the Highway Traffic Board ensure that the written decisions, including safe driver recognition appeals it provides to appellants include:

  1. a statement of the decision.
  2. a summary of the information relied upon by the decision-maker.
  3. an explanation of how any contradictions in the information were reconciled by the decision-maker.
  4. any other relevant reasons for making the decision.

Status: Accepted

 

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