evidence to suggest that this is a problem in any other Canadian
jurisdiction where physicians are not subject to an “effective referral” requirement which is substantially similar to the effective
referral requirements of the Policies. In short, the applicants argue
that the Policies address a problem that does not exist and is based
on speculative concerns.
 I find that the objective of the Policies is of sufficient
importance to warrant overriding the individual applicants’ rights
of religious freedom. In this regard, the following considerations
 First, it is necessary to be clear about the objectives of the
effective referral requirements of the Policies.
 The CPSO describes the general purpose of the Policies as
the articulation of physicians’ professional and legal obligations to
provide health services without discrimination. In particular, the
effective referral requirements of the Policies set out the CPSO’s
expectations for physicians who limit the health services they provide because of their personal values and beliefs.
 The CPSO says that the goal of the effective referral
requirements of the Policies, in particular, is the protection of the
public, the prevention of harm to patients, and the facilitation of
access to care for patients in our multi-cultural and multi-faith
society. The CPSO says this is an important purpose, particularly
the protection of all Ontario patients with an emphasis on ensuring
that the most vulnerable are not exposed to harm. The CPSO says
that a physician’s professional and ethical obligations of non-abandonment, and of patient-centered care within the context of
Ontario’s public health care system, require a physician to have
regard to the furtherance of these goals in the practice of medicine.
 I understand the essential purpose of the effective referral requirements of the Policies to be the facilitation of patient
access to health care services and, in particular, the facilitation of
equitable access to such services. There are a number of
important elements to this purpose that warrant identification.
As the CPSO notes, underlying this purpose is the context of
a publicly funded health care system and a patient-centered environment. In this environment, physicians perform a positive role
for their patients as “gatekeepers” to health care services and are
subject to the obligation of non-abandonment, as well as the obligation to put the interests of their patient ahead of their own. It
is entirely consistent with this environment and these obligations
that the Policies seek to ensure that the religious and conscientious objections of physicians do not become a barrier to health
care for patients who seek healthcare services to which particular
physicians may object.