ICBC fairness officer appointed

MICHAEL Skinner, former lawyer and adjudicator, is ICBC’s new fairness officer, effective July 12, the Province announced on Monday.

Skinner’s appointment to a three-year term follows the May 1, 2021, launch of ICBC’s new Enhanced Care coverage. The appointment emphasizes the independence of this new office. He will focus on ensuring the corporation’s policies, practices and actions are fair and transparent, while further strengthening public trust in ICBC as an organization dedicated to providing affordable auto insurance and caring for people who are injured in a crash.

Specifically, the fairness officer will have the authority to review and make recommendations to resolve customer complaints about the policy or process ICBC has used to decide their case. The officer may also make broader recommendations to enhance fair decision-making.

As a practising lawyer in 1982, Skinner worked on ICBC cases before transitioning into a career with the B.C. public service as an investigator with the Office of the Ombudsperson and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. These roles shaped his expertise on multi-party dispute resolution, complex investigations and major public reporting with recommendations for systemic improvement.

Skinner has worked on justice reform projects with the Ministry of Attorney General, and directed operations at the Health Professions Review Board, an administrative tribunal, for eight years. Since 2016, he has served as a director with the BC Council of Administrative Tribunals and is well positioned to make recommendations to ICBC on issues of procedural fairness.

The fairness officer is required to report annually to ICBC and the minister responsible for complaints received. ICBC must also report annually to the minister responsible about how it is responding to the fairness officer’s recommendations. Both reports are required to be publicly available and will be tabled with the legislative assembly.

The new fairness officer builds on the work by the former ICBC fairness commissioner, whose term expires this fall. The fairness officer will not revisit cases on which the commissioner has made a ruling.

ICBC’s Enhanced Care coverage: