BC Court of Appeal strengthens landmark ruling defending public health care in Canada

Today’s ruling from the BC Court of Appeal in the Cambie Surgeries Corporation (CSC) case has upheld the BC Supreme Court’s September 2020 decision that protected key principles of public health care in Canada. 

The court found that the provisions of the Medicare Protection Act challenged by Cambie Surgeries are “necessary to preserve a publicly funded system delivering necessary services based on need and not ability to pay”, and that “suppressing all private care is necessary to meet that objective”. This decision comes at a time when all efforts need to be made to strengthen and enhance our public health care system rather than dismantle it.

CEO of CSC Dr. Brian Day and his powerful allies have been dealt yet another blow in their more than a decade-long attempt to use the courts to undermine public health care in Canada and usher in a profit-driven health care system.

“As a group of patients, doctors and health care advocates, we became involved in this case in order to defend and protect public health care and our resolve remains as strong today as the day it started,” said Tuesday Andrich, Co-Chair of the BC Health Coalition. “With today’s ruling confirming the strength of the BC Supreme Court decision, we can get back to the important work of improving our health care system with public solutions that address the real challenges our health care system is facing.” 

The Court has upheld BC Supreme Court Justice Steeves’ conclusions that the evidence at trial showed that duplicative private health care would increase wait times as well as his conclusions about the harm this would cause to vulnerable people who depend upon the public system.  

“There is no question that our public health care system is currently under strain, and we need all hands on deck to work together to strengthen and improve it,” said Dr. Melanie Bechard, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “There are efficient, evidence-based solutions that are proven to reduce wait times and improve the quality of care in an equitable way. Allowing doctors to charge patients as much as they want, and forcing patients to pay out-of-pocket or purchase private insurance is not one of them.”

The past two years have underscored just how important it is that our public health care system is there for everyone when they need it. This decision protects our ability to care for one other today and into the future.


For media inquiries please contact:

Katie Arnup, Executive Director of Canadian Doctors for Medicare at 647-289-5205 or [email protected]

Usman Mushtaq, Coordinator with the BC Health Coalition at 604-379-3600 or [email protected]

About the Intervenors:

The BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare, along with two doctors and two patients, are Intervenors in this case.

The BC Health Coalition (BCHC) advocates for evidence-based improvements to our public health care system, stimulates public education on health care issues, and drives positive change to our health care system through campaigns across the province.

Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. We advocate for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.

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