Insurer required to pay settlement agreement on behalf of insurer despite his having operated a snowmobile contrary to the terms of his criminal probation order

10. January 2018 0

An insured who operates a motor vehicle contrary to a criminal court order is nevertheless authorized to operate a motor vehicle pursuant to Statutory Condition 4(1).

Insurance law – Automobile insurance – Statutory provisions – Exclusions – Appeals – Practice – Settlement of action

Middleton v. Pankhurst, [2017] O.J. No. 5661, 2017 ONCA 835, Ontario Court of Appeal, November 2, 2017, C.W. Hourigan, L.B. Roberts and I.V.B. Nordheimer J.J.A.

The insurer appealed the trial judge’s decision finding it liable to pay a settlement agreement following a snowmobile accident caused when the insured drove his snowmobile at night and with alcohol in his system contrary to a criminal probation order.

The Court of Appeal held that the determination of whether an insured is authorized to operate a motor vehicle per Statutory Condition 4(1) is restricted to a consideration of restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Transportation.  A criminal probation order restricting a person from driving does not render that individual not authorized to operate a motor vehicle.  Aviva was required to pay on behalf of its insured despite his having operated the snowmobile contrary to the terms of his criminal probation order.

This case was digested by Dionne Liu, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Insurance Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Insurance Law Newsletter.  If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Dionne Liu at

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