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HEALTH INSURANCE, GOVERNMENT - Provision of coverage for temporarily absent insured persons

Wednesday, November 04, 2020 @ 6:21 AM  


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Application by the Canadian Snowbird Association and Slack for judicial review seeking a declaration that Regulation 259 was ultra vires the Lieutenant Governor in Council of Ontario. Regulation 259 amended regulations under the Health Insurance Act so that out-of-country medical expenses were no longer reimbursed by Ontario’s Health Insurance Program. Prior to the regulation’s approval, the federal government informed the Ontario government of its concerns that the regulation would be inconsistent with the requirements of the Canada Health Act. Ontario did not respond to the federal government’s concerns and requests for clarification.

HELD: Application allowed. The impugned regulation clearly violated the portability criterion found in the Canada Health Act. When the Ontario Cabinet passed the impugned regulation, it passed a regulation that disqualified it from receiving a full cash contribution under the Canada Health Act. Section 45(3.3) of the Health Insurance Act prohibited Cabinet from passing a regulation that had such effect. Regulation 259 was ultra vires the executive powers conferred by the Ontario Legislature. The applicants’ Charter arguments had no merit. By eliminating the right to out-of-country insurance, Ontario was not acting to deprive anyone of their life or security of the person. The impugned regulation did not violate the applicants’ section 7 or 15 Charter rights.

Canadian Snowbirds Assn. Inc. v. Ontario (Attorney General), [2020] O.J. No. 4036, Ontario Superior Court of Justice - Divisional Court, H.E. Sachs, N.L. Backhouse and L.A. Pattillo JJ., September 23, 2020. Digest No. TLD-November22020006