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HOSPITAL AND HEALTH CARE FACILITIES - Doctors’ privileges - Cancellation, revocation or restriction

Friday, December 21, 2018 @ 6:35 AM  


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Appeal by the plaintiffs from a decision dismissing their action for wrongful dismissal on the ground that it was barred by s. 44(5) of the Public Hospitals Act which precluded any action for damages if the board of a hospital decided to cease to provide a service. The appellants were both doctors who practiced for many years in the respondent hospital’s urgent care centre. The respondent closed the urgent care centre and, as a consequence, terminated their privileges. The trial judge found that by closing the urgent care centre, the respondent’s board also decided to cancel or substantially alter the privileges of the two appellants. She concluded that s. 44(5) applied to immunize the respondent from liability for the appellants’ wrongful dismissal claims.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. Legislative history could be used to interpret legislation but not to create exceptions to legislation that might have been contemplated but were never enacted. The Legislature did consider the possibility of enacting regulations to confer certain procedural rights but did not do so. The fact that the trial judge characterized the legal status of the appellants as dependent contractors did not result in their claims being exempt from the reach of s. 44(5). The language of s. 44(5) was all embracing, and it would be inappropriate to read-in an exception that the Legislature did not provide. Section 44(5) barred any and all proceedings for claims arising from a hospital’s decision to cease to provide a service and the specific legal characterization of the terminated doctor’s status had no impact on its application.

Beattie v. Women's College Hospital, [2018] O.J. No. 5830, Ontario Court of Appeal, A. Hoy A.C.J.O., R.J. Sharpe and J.M. Fairburn JJ.A., October 31, 2018. Digest No. TLD-December172018009