Monday, November 3, 2014
In a strongly worded decision, on Friday the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed an application by the government to stay the order of the Federal Court that had struck down the government's changes to refugee healthcare. The Federal Court found that the changes were a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because they imposed cruel and unusual treatment on disadvantaged refugees and refugee children. The Court had stayed the effect of the order for four months to give the government time to restore the previous program. The Minister sought a stay of this order, but on Friday Justice Webb of the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the stay. Justice Webb found that the public interest in dismissing the stay was greater than the interest in granting it:

Therefore, it seems to me that it is more likely than not that there will be, during the period that the stay would be in place (if granted), a child (or another person) with a medical problem who would have been covered under the 1957 Program but not under the 2012 Program. If, however, the stay is not granted and during the period after the judgment is effective and before the appeal of the decision is determined by this Court, there is no one who would be affected by the changes made by the 2012 OICs, there would be no harm to the appellants since there would be no additional health care costs that the appellants would incur. On the other hand, if there is such a child (or other person) before the appeal is determined by this Court, there could be serious irreparable harm if the child (or other person) does not receive medical treatment. It seems to me that this tips the public interest in favour of the respondents.

Lorne Waldman represented the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care at the Federal Court and in the stay proceedings.
Lorne Waldman