Canadian children excluded by the Ramq
The purpose of this class action is to compensate minors who have been denied access to healthcare coverage by RAMQ because of the immigration status of their parents, as well as to compensate the parents and legal guardians of these children. All cases where refusal has taken place, even if the child is currently covered by the Public Health Insurance Plan, are covered by this class action. The latter also seeks the award of punitive damages.
The plaintiffs allege that the government’s practice of excluding these children is contrary to the Health Insurance Act. They also allege that it violates the fundamental rights of their daughter and other Canadian children who are in a similar situation, including their rights to life, security and integrity as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The plaintiffs further argue that this government practice is discriminatory.
On January 18, 2021, the Superior Court has issued a judgment granting a motion from the Attorney General of Quebec for declinatory exception seeking the dismissal of the Class action. The Superior Court concluded that indeed it did not have jurisdiction to hear this class action. The Superior Court is of the opinion that applicants should instead apply to the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec.
On May 21, 2021, the applicants filed their Appeal Brief following the filing of the Notice of Appeal on February 23, 2021. The date on which the Appeal will be heard has been fixed November 30, 2021.
On June 10, Bill 83 on the eligibility to the Public Health Insurance Plan and the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan of children whose parents have a precarious migratory status was adopted and will come into force at the end of September.
This law provides for the eligibility of all children living in Quebec, whether they were born there or not, and who can demonstrate their intention to stay in the territory for more than 6 months in the year following their registration. In addition, the 3-month waiting period will be abolished for all minor children.
On September 22, 2021, the bill 83 came into force. This means that all children are now eligible for health insurance and basic prescription drug insurance plans provided they are present in Quebec for more than 6 months per year, whether they were born there or not.
Criteria to be met to be part of this action:
You could be part of the class action if you fall into one of the following two categories:
Group 1: Any non-emancipated minor born in Canada and established in Quebec who has been refused access to coverage under the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) plan because of the immigration status of his or her parents.
Group 2: Any legal guardian of a Group 1 member.
Summary of the class action
On July 9, 2020, the plaintiffs, represented by the law firm Trudel Johnston & Lespérance, filed an Application for authorization to institute a class action against the Attorney General of Québec (“AGQ”), who represents the Government of Québec. The applicants filed an amended application on September 30, 2020. The AGQ is challenging the class action. On October 29, 2020, the government presented a declinatory argument before Justice Martin Sheehan. The AGQ argued that the Superior Court has no jurisdiction to hear the class action.
The application was filed in the Superior Court of Quebec in the district of Montreal.
Both parties came to an agreement with regards to the class members confidentiality. The defendant agrees not to ask for class members’ information, unless the member specifically agreed to testify or do not wish to preserve their anonymity.