Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 1 2018 - Page 27

POLICY MATTERS Effective referral requirement affirmed by Superior Court Unanimous decision supports patients’ right to access health services I n a unanimous decision, the Superior Court of Justice supported patients’ right to access health services and the College’s effective referral requirement in relation to two of its policies. Last June, the Divisional Court heard two challenges brought by some individual physicians and organizations, including the Christian Medical and Dental Society, to the College’s Professional Obligations and Human Rights policy and the Medical Assistance in Dying policy. The challenges centered on the effective referral requirement in the policies – that is, if a member conscientiously objects to a procedure, the policies require that the member connect the patient with an available, non-objecting member or agency. The applicants argued that this requirement unjustifiably infringed their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion and equality rights. The Court’s decision dismisses the applications, finding that while there was an infringement of the freedom of religion guarantee, the limit was reasonably justified. “The Court decision is a win for patient ISSUE 1, 2018 DIALOGUE 27