B.C. Supreme Court dismisses constitutional challenge over private health care

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The B.C. Supreme Court has dismissed a decade-long constitutional challenge over private health care.

The challenge was made by Dr. Brian Day of the Cambie Surgery Centre, a private facility in Vancouver.

Day had claimed the public system denies patients their right to timely care. He was pushing to allow people to bypass the waitlists in the public health care system and pay out of pocket for a surgery.

But the province’s top court says Day failed to prove patients’ constitutional rights are being infringed upon by the Medicare Protection Act, which focuses on medically needed care – not whether someone can pay.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix welcomed the court decision.

“I think it’s fair to say, in this 880-page judgement, the ruling emphasized the strength and the importance of public health care, which is a cornerstone of our identity in British Columbia, a cornerstone of our identity in all of Canada,” Dix said.

“We are obviously delighted with the decision and pleased about the basis of the decision, as well.”

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also applauded the court decision.

“Today’s decision is a win for public health care,” he said.


“Health care should be there for you and your family whenever you need it, no matter how much money is in your bank account,” Singh added.

“The global pandemic has shown us that we need to invest more — not less — in our healthcare system.”

It’s not known yet if Day and the Cambie Surgeries Centre will appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Day began his battle a decade ago against the B.C. government.

The case started in B.C. Supreme Court in 2016 and final arguments are scheduled to come to a close in February.

Day is an orthopaedic surgeon who legally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver in 1996.

However, the facility has been operating since 2003 in violation of unproclaimed provisions of the provincial Medicare Protection Act.

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