Toronto

Ontario Superior Court orders province to reinstate out-of-country OHIP coverage

The Superior Court of Justice has ruled that the provincial government's move to eliminate the Out of Country Travellers' Program violates the Canada Health Act.

Court rules eliminating the program violates Canada Health Act

The provincial government has been ordered to reinstate an out-of-country health insurance program it axed at the start of 2020. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

An Ontario court has ordered the province to reinstate an out-of-country health insurance program it cancelled at the beginning of the year.

The Superior Court of Justice has ruled that the government's move to eliminate the Out of Country Travellers' Program violates the portability pillar of the Canada Health Act.

The province announced plans to axe the program in spring of 2019, following a six-day consultation period, saying it was costly and provided little value to taxpayers.

Health Minister Christine Elliott has said the province spent $2.8 million to administer approximately $9 million in claim payments through the program every year.

The program covered out-of-country inpatient services up to $400 per day for a higher level of care, and up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient and doctor services.

The Canadian Snowbirds Association, which represents those who winter in warmer parts of the world, challenged the move, calling it an "egregious violation" of the Canada Health Act.

The group is applauding the court's decision, while a spokeswoman for Elliott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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