Statement from the Minister of Health on the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision in the Cambie Surgeries case
July 15, 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada
The British Columbia (BC) Court of Appeal today released its decision, upholding the ruling of the Supreme Court of BC in Cambie Surgeries Corporation et al. v. British Columbia (Attorney General) which dismissed the constitutional challenge to provisions of BC's Medicare Protection Act. These specific provisions prohibit patient charges for insured services and the purchase of private insurance to cover these services, as well as dual practice, which occurs when physicians work within the publicly funded health care system and privately, at the same time.
The Government of Canada welcomes the BC Court of Appeal's decision and commends the Government of BC for its ongoing defence of universally accessible health care. While the Canada Health Act (CHA) was not under direct challenge in this case, the federal government joined the proceedings as a party to support BC in its defence of its legislation, a mirror of the fundamental principles of the CHA, which values equity and fairness over profit and preferential access to required care.
This decision validates our belief that any Canadian who requires medically necessary care should be able to receive it based on medical need and not on the ability or willingness to pay. Patient charges—whether they take the form of charges at the point of service or payment for private insurance—undermine equity.
We believe that these values are more important than ever as we continue to respond to the unprecedented challenges presented by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our health care systems. The Government of Canada will continue to defend universally accessible health care for all Canadians.
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Office of Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
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