In previous blog posts, we have discussed ICBC loss of housekeeping awards.

Whether you are entitled to compensation for loss of housekeeping capacity from ICBC will depend on whether your injuries have impacted your ability to perform your usual housekeeping duties. The idea of compensation for loss of housekeeping capacity is that your ability to perform these tasks has been impacted or eliminated as a result of the accident and your injuries.

When an award is made for loss of housekeeping capacity, it can be calculated in 2 different ways by the trial judge.  First, damages for loss of housekeeping capacity can be awarded as an unidentified amount as part of the award of non-pecuniary damages which are also known as damages for pain and suffering.  Second, damages for loss of housekeeping capacity can be calculated separately as a pecuniary award where the trial judge will apply a mathematical calculation.  The calculation will take into account the number of hours the injured claimant would have spent performing the housekeeping duties which have been instead performed by others.  If others are performing these tasks instead of the injured claimant, compensation is still awarded where family members have assumed responsibility for these chores without being paid.  It is not necessary for a housekeeper to have been hired.

Whether the loss of housekeeping award will be calculated as a non-pecuniary award (part of the claim for pain and suffering) or as a pecuniary award (where they are mathematically calculated) will depend on the facts of each case.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal clarified the types of circumstances that will support the type of award made for loss of housekeeping capacity in Kim v. Lin, 2018 BCCA 77:

[28] …[t]he types of circumstances which may determine whether a loss is more properly considered pecuniary or non-pecuniary were recently discussed by this Court in Liu:

[26] It lies in the trial judge’s discretion whether to address such a claim as part of the non-pecuniary loss or as a segregated pecuniary head of damage. In McTavish at paras. 68-69, the Court suggested that treating loss of housekeeping capacity as non-pecuniary loss may be best suited to cases in which the plaintiff is still able to perform household tasks with difficulty or decides they need not be done, while remuneration in pecuniary terms is preferable where family members gratuitously perform the lost services, thereby avoiding necessary replacement costs.

More recently in Xu v Balaski, 2020 BCSC 940, Justice Ball stated:

[167] …In the case at bar, the loss of housekeeping capacity is more in keeping with a loss of capacity than a loss of amenities. In Kim, the plaintiff was found to have lost the capacity to look after her house or care for her children. While this court has heard evidence that Ms. Xu has some ability in each of these areas, she completes some tasks with increased difficulty, and is unable to complete other tasks at all. The tasks she is able to complete with difficulty have already been addressed under the non-pecuniary damages section. This court should therefore treat the tasks she is unable to perform as pecuniary damages.

In light of these recent cases on same, for an injured claimant to be awarded a pecuniary award for their loss of housekeeping capacity, they must adduce evidence to the Court that he or she can no longer preform domestic tasks and requires assistance through their family or hired help.

On the other hand, if the injured claimant can still perform housekeeping duties, but at a slower or more reduced rate causing pain, then the award for loss of housekeeping capacity will be non-pecuniary as part of the award for pain and suffering.

Lastly, it is important to note that if an injured claimant’s injuries result in limitations in regard to child care, this loss can be advanced and compensated as part of the claim for loss of housekeeping.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment