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REGIONAL NEWS | BRITISH COLUMBIA

TRY, TRY, TRIAL AGAIN

Consistently in the crosshairs of critical British Columbians, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is in hot water again over its newly introduced no-fault insurance platform that has B.C. trial lawyers calling the model unconstitutional. The B.C. Trial Lawyers Association successfully argued in court that ICBC’s platform, wherein claims are settled internally via a tribunal, is unconstitutional in that it denies the right of the individual to an impartial, federally-appointed judge.

“We think that the independence of our superior courts is an important feature of Canadian democracy and Canadians should not be quick to give up their right to access an independent judiciary,” said Kevin Gourlay of the B.C. Trial Lawyers Association. The platform began its initial rollout in April of 2019 and has been subject to criticism for much of the time since.

A statement from the province’s attorney general, David Eby, promised that the government would be looking into changes for B.C.’s auto insurance platform, allowing “lower-value disputes” to be settled before the province’s Civil Resolution Tribunal and that none of the changes would affect future rebates to come from ICBC.

EV EDUCATION

In an effort to continue to turn the tide of automotive development toward the EV (electric vehicles) sector, the government of British Columbia has announced nearly half a million dollars in funding heading toward the launch of three EV-focused skills training programs in the province.

The B.C. government will be splitting up $440,000 among Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, College of New Caledonia’s Prince George campus and Camosun College’s Interurban campus in Victoria.

This round of funding aims to build upon a 2019 pilot project launched out of the British Columbia Institute of Technology which eventually led to the full implementation of the pilot program.

“We know from speaking with our students and with industry that there is huge interest and a real need for EV training. This funding ensures we can tool up to deliver state-of-theart training that will help our students be in demand and get jobs,” said Andrew Ross, automotive service technician instructor, Okanagan College, in the announcement press release.

“It’s a win-win-win.” Ken Rowell, an instructor at the College of New Caledonia, elaborated on what the program will offer. “The course is designed for automotive service technicians with a Red Seal certificate. It goes beyond the basic safety training and gets into diagnostics, repair and service.” Rowell also spoke to the increasing demand for training in these forms of emerging technology.

“In BC, with high gasoline prices, and abundant hydro power, electric cars are a quickly growing part of our fleet. This program will help our existing auto technicians gain the skills needed to provide EV and plug-in hybrid owners with convenient and affordable maintenance and repair.”

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