Dr. James Halvorson and his legal counsel, Grant Kovacs Norell

July 18, 2012 09:00 ET

Court Certifies Class Action on Behalf of Doctors Against BC Government

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 18, 2012) - On July 12, 2012, the Honourable Madam Justice Elaine Adair of the British Columbia Supreme Court certified the lawsuit James Peter Halvorson v. Medical Services Commission of British Columbia and others, No. C985385, as a class action under the Class Proceedings Act.

Dr. Halvorson, an emergency room physician from Duncan, B.C. launched these proceedings against the Provincial Government in October 1998 on behalf of himself and all other physicians treating British Columbia residents. Dr. Halvorson seeks compensation for medical services rendered to B.C. residents from July 23, 1992 to April 30, 1996 for which the Provincial Government has refused to pay.

Despite the concept of universality (100% of all residents of a province) that is enshrined in the Canada Health Act and in B.C.'s Medicare Protection Act, many residents of British Columbia were not covered by the Medical Services Plan ("MSP") due to the non-payment of their MSP premiums. The Provincial Government's internal documents estimated that, at times, up to 363,000 eligible B.C. residents were not being insured by MSP for this reason. British Columbia doctors nevertheless provided treatment to these uninsured BC residents at considerable personal costs. After learning of the decision to certify the lawsuit as a class action, Dr Halvorson said:

"The Provincial Government broke its own laws by placing this burden on the backs of the physicians. It is simply unfair that the Province has received money from the federal government to cover these individuals and then has refused to pay the physicians who treated them. We want to right that wrong with this lawsuit."

The decision of Madam Justice Adair marks a long class certification process that started in 2000 before Madam Justice Wendy Baker whose refusal to certify was overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2003. Class certification is a procedural requirement, which must be met before the matter can proceed to a hearing on the merits. Dr. Halvorson will act as the Class Representative Plaintiff for all class members. Dr. Halvorson estimates that the total value of the claims may well be in excess of $100,000,000. He stated:

"This decision is good for British Columbian Medicare. It is another step towards making this Government recognize its obligations under the Canada Health Act to all British Columbians and their physicians."

A trial date has not yet been set.

For more information, contact Dr. Halvorson at 250-710-8813 or his legal counsel, Arthur Grant at 604-609-6699 or visit the website at www.gkn.ca and click on the link for the MSP class action update. See also the attached court ordered legal notice.

Contact Information

  • Dr. Halvorson

    Arthur Grant
    Legal Counsel, Grant Kovacs Norell