Federal Court


No legal duty to consult with applicants before proceeding with policy

Governor changed rules relating to health coverage for privately sponsored refugees under order. Applicants sponsored refugees under agreement with Minister. Applicants sought challenged order arguing order could not apply to refugees who were sponsored before order came into effect because order breached contract between applicants and Minister. Applicants argued order was ultra vires, breach duty of fairness, and violated Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Application for judicial review was dismissed. There was no breach of contract. Agreement did not specify particular level of healthcare services. Order enacted under Crown’s prerogative power was reviewable on constitutional grounds, but not otherwise. Breach of contract would give rise to action in damages, but would not invalidate order. Order was not ultra vires. Exemption from inadmissibility on medical grounds did not guarantee members of refugee abroad class would be exempt from all medical costs or would be guaranteed particular level of healthcare coverage in Canada. Order could not be characterized as breach of undertakings by Minister because Minister was not party to sponsorship undertakings. Duty of fairness was not breached. Governor in Council had no legal duty to consult directly with applicants before proceeding with policy reflected in order considering relatively small number of persons and modest amounts involved. Consultations with sponsors took place before order came into effect. Applicants had no standing to raise issue under Charter. There was no evidentiary basis on which to adjudicate applicants’ rights under Charter. There was another proceeding underway in which issues could be determined on basis of proper factual record.

Hospitality House Refugee Ministry Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General) (May. 24, 2013, F.C., James W. O’Reilly J., File No. T-1378-12) 228 A.C.W.S. (3d) 425.

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