The Divisional Court noted three contextual considerations
relevant to the balancing. First, s. 7 of the Charter “confers a right
to equitable access to such medical services as are legally available
in Ontario and provided under the provincial healthcare system”.
Second, physicians have no right to practice medicine, let alone
a constitutionally protected right. Third, physicians in Ontario
practice in a single-payer, publicly-funded health care system,
which is structured around patient-centered care. Physicians
have a duty not to abandon patients. In the event of a conflict, the
interests of patients come first.
 The Divisional Court found that the salutary effects of the
Policies ensured equitable access to health care by preventing
a delay in access to medical services; preventing loss of eligibility
or denial of care for desired services; and preventing the stigma
or emotional distress associated with a physician’s denial of the
request for medical services.
 While compliance with the Policies could have deleterious
effects for some physicians, they were not without alternatives.
For those physicians whose religious objections could not be
addressed by the options identified in the Fact Sheet, the physicians could change the nature of their practice to a specialty or
sub-specialty that did not engage the same moral and ethical
issues. Given the options available to comply with the Policies,
the potential for a conflict between a physician’s religious beliefs
and the Policies, and any resulting psychological concern, results
from a conscious choice of the physician to practice in circumstances in which such a conflict could arise. The deleterious
effects of the Policies, while not trivial, are less serious than outright exclusion from the practice of medicine.
 In balancing the salutary and deleterious effects of the
Policies, the Divisional Court concluded [at para. 186] that “it is
reasonable to expect on the evidence and logic that an ‘effective
referral’ requirement will make a positive difference in ensuring
access to healthcare, and in particular equitable access to
healthcare, in circumstances in which a physician objects on
religious or conscientious grounds to the provision of medical
services requested by a patient”. Particularly for vulnerable
individuals, the “self-referral” model proposed by the appellants,
would interfere with the ability of such individuals to access the
health care services they seek.
 In balancing the public benefit against the costs in the
context outlined above, the Divisional Court found [at para. 210]
that “to the extent there remains any conflict between patient
rights and physician rights that cannot be reconciled within the
Policies, the former must govern”.