OTTAWA – Canada’s unions applaud the decision by the BC Supreme Court to uphold the integrity of the country’s single-payer health care system.
The Cambie Surgeries Centre case put Canada’s public medicare system on trial and threatened the principle of universal and equal access to health care. The court’s decision to reject the arguments made by Dr. Brian Day is a significant blow to those who would push for profit-driven care in this country.
“Looking at what’s happening in the United States, this pandemic has demonstrated how important Canada’s public health care system is and how devastating private, for-profit care can be,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “Now is the time to be investing in a health care system that serves us all. Two-tier health care is simply un-Canadian.”
Canada’s unions congratulate the BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare who were intervenors in this case.
“We know the fight to protect public health care won’t end here, but the Cambie decision is an important victory that adds strength to the case that the Canada Health Act allows no leeway for profit over patients,” said Yussuff. “If we’re going to improve the health care system, we have to focus on improving it for everyone, not just for the people with the ability to pay.”
The Court noted that there is a “lack of capacity in the public health system” which has led to some patients having to wait beyond suggested timelines for surgeries.
This is in part due to decades of austerity by successive governments. If this chronic underfunding isn’t rectified, more challenges will be brought against the Canada Health Act.
“This case should serve as a wake-up call to governments that they will have to address decades of underfunding with significant investments into our health care system to ensure it remains equitable and accessible to all,” added Yussuff.
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