Delay not always a bar to a disability claim.

On September 21, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s decision to grant relief from forfeiture in Dube v. RBC Life Insurance Company, 2015 ONCA 641.

Gregory Dube worked for a Community Housing Corporation in Windsor, Ontario. As a full-time employee, Dube was insured by RBC Life Insurance Co. against the risk of suffering a long-term disability. The RBC policy required claimants to submit proof of their claim to RBC within 90 days from the start of their disability, but granted an extra year to submit proof of the claim if they could not do so within 90 days.

On May 24, 2010, Dube was hurt in a motor vehicle accident and was unable to return to work. He could no longer perform physical work duties such as lifting heavy objects. When Dube spoke with human resources staff at the Housing Corporation, they mistakenly informed him that he was not eligible for long-term disability benefits from RBC. Almost two years later, Dube learned that he could be eligible. On March 9, 2012, Dube notified RBC that he was claiming benefits. RBC denied his claim. Dube brought an action against RBC, and the insurer moved for summary judgment to dismiss his claim.

At the summary judgment Motion, the judge found that Dube behaved reasonably in bringing his claim. On balance, the importance of the benefits to Dube and the fact that all the medical documents related to Dube’s injuries were still available undermined RBC’s complaint. RBC did not suffer any prejudice from this delay. RBC’s Motion for summary judgment was dismissed. RBC appealed. The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the decision in favour of Dube and dismissed the appeal.