Private for-profit health care rejected by Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the appeal by a private corporation intent on creating a two-tier health care system, bringing to an end the decade-long campaign by public health care advocates to defend Medicare.
Cambie Surgeries Corporation in Vancouver challenged the province’s Medicare Protection Act in a B.C. court, and lost its case in 2020, and then lost an appeal in 2022. Undeterred, Cambie asked the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the B.C. courts’ decisions.
In its brief decision, the Supreme Court said, “The application for leave to appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Vancouver), Number CA47004, 2022 BCCA 245, dated July 15, 2022, is dismissed with costs to the respondent, the Attorney General of Canada.” The Supreme Court does not give reasons for decisions such as this.
In ruling against Cambie in 2020, Supreme Court of British Columbia Justice John Steeves’ judgement said, “The expert evidence (including from the plaintiffs’ experts) is that duplicative private healthcare would not decrease wait times in the public system and there is expert evidence that wait times would actually increase (paras. 2308‑2349). This would cause further inequitable access to timely care.” Justice Steeves’ judgement contradicted Cambie’s arguments and dismissing the case.
This is a strong signal to governments from the nation’s highest court that private, for-profit health care is the wrong way to go. Are the provinces listening?
Congratulations to the B.C. Government, along with our colleagues at the B.C. Health Coalition, Canadian Doctors for Medicare and everyone who supported this long struggle to defend public Medicare.
Learn more from this CBC interview with SFU researcher Andrew Longhurst: