The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has sued the province of New Brunswick over its refusal to fund abortions in private-practice clinics. The CCLA argued in its motion that New Brunswick’s failure to fund abortion services violated prior legal precedent and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While New Brunswick does cover the cost of abortions in hospital settings, it is currently the only province that does not fund the procedure in private practice settings. Only three hospitals are allowed to provide abortion services in New Brunswick. The government has not offered any explanation for its refusal to cover the procedure and has taken no steps to comply with federal law.
The CCLA hopes to repeal the provision of provincial Regulation 84-20 that allows the provincial government to deny abortions funds in non-hospital settings. The CCLA formally notified the New Brunswick attorney general of the claim in November, stating that it would take legal action if the province did not repeal Regulation 84-20 within two weeks.
The federal government previously withheld $100,000 from the province for violating federal law for refusing to fund private-practice abortions, but later released the funds due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
New Brunswick has twenty days to respond to the notice of claim, which the CCLA filed Wednesday. If the province fails to respond, the court may rule in CCLA’s favor without ordering a trial.