Toronto – The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA), a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the rights and privileges of Canadian travellers, has filed a legal challenge against the Ontario Government’s cuts to out-of-country emergency insurance coverage.
Earlier this year, the Ontario Government announced their plans to eliminate OHIP’s Out-of-Country (OOC) Travellers Program, which provides reimbursement for Ontario residents who face medical emergencies while travelling outside of the country. The program’s termination, which came into effect on January 1, 2020, is unprecedented and makes Ontario the only jurisdiction in Canada to cut all emergency medical coverage for residents travelling abroad.
“We are filing this legal challenge on behalf of our members, and all Ontario travellers, in order to protect their right to out-of-country emergency medical care which is enshrined in the Canada Health Act (CHA),” said Karen Huestis, president of the Canadian Snowbird Association. “These cuts are an egregious violation of the portability requirement of the CHA and must be addressed head-on.”
Portability is one of the five pillars set out in the Canada Health Act that govern the Canadian health care insurance system. Under the CHA, residents who are temporarily absent from their home province or territory or from Canada, must continue to be covered for insured health services during their absence. If insured persons are temporarily absent in another province or territory, the portability criterion requires that insured services be paid at the host province’s rate. If insured persons are temporarily out of the country, insured services are to be paid at the home province’s rate.
The Canadian Snowbird Association represents over 50,000 Ontario residents and maintains a total membership of over 115,000 travellers across Canada.
The Canadian Snowbird Association is an over 115,000 member, non-profit, non-partisan organization representing Canadian travellers from across the country. The CSA works in partnership with government and business to educate and advocate on behalf of all travelling Canadians, helping to ensure access to safe, healthy travel with no restrictions on freedom of movement.
Director of Research and Communications
Canadian Snowbird Association