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Post-Accident Self-Employment Considered Hobby Opposed to Business

September 28, 2022

In the recent Licence Appeal Tribunal decision, Lynch v Intact Insurance Company (20-014497/AABS), the parties argued over whether the Applicant’s comedy career would be considered a business and preclude him from continuing to receive income replacement benefits (IRBs).

In this claim, the Applicant was struck by an automobile on April 21, 2018.  At the time of the accident, the Applicant was employed and had a stable work history, in addition to working part-time as a stand-up comedy performer.

After the accident, the Applicant has been unable to return to work in any consistent fashion despite several attempts, however he has continued to perform and produce stand-up comedy part-time.

The Applicant received IRBs for two years after the accident before the Respondent stopped his IRBs as they did not designate him catastrophically impaired.  In support of their position, the Respondent argued that the Applicant is actively working as a promising stand-up comedy performer and producer.

The Vice Chair agreed that “…if the business was robust and successful it would disqualify him, however, at most, his comedy activities are currently a hobby and not a career that supports Intact’s position.  It nets him part-time income that he estimated at $4,000 to $5,000 a year…but this figure is not nearly commensurate with his pre-accident position.  One day, it may grow more substantial, but it is far from that point.  Of course, B.L. must regularly and fully account for his earnings, as they constitute a reduction of the IRB.

The activities are sporadic, conducted as short tasks of up to two hours, spread out over a course of a few days, preformed at B.L.’s will.  While B.L. hasn’t missed any shows, they are all in the evening, so B.L.’s depression and inability to get started on some days is covered-up.  The activities do not translate into an ability to show-up everyday to work at an employer’s schedule and consistently work and maintain working relationships.

Therefore, the Applicant was not precluded from continuing to receive IRBs despite continuing his hobby as a stand-up comedy performer after the accident, however, the Respondent was entitled to deduct this post-accident income.

Read the decision in full detail here: Lynch v Intact Insurance Company (20-014497/AABS)

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