CUPE is encouraged by the BC Court of Appeal’s decision to protect Canada’s universal public health care system in today’s ruling on the Cambie v. British Columbia case. The case was brought by Dr. Brian Day, CEO of Cambie Surgeries Corporation, who is seeking to overturn the ban on for-profit health care and bring a US-style medical system into Canada.

 “We’re reassured by today’s decision, but we know this isn’t the end of the line in this fight,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “We will keep demanding better funding and more staffing for our health care system, and will never stop fighting for the fundamental right of all Canadians to free, universal, public health care.”

In 2012, Dr. Day was found guilty of overcharging patients almost half a million dollars in a 30-day period, but challenged that ruling and filed a Charter challenge, alleging that the Canada Health Act and provincial health legislation violates his freedoms by restricting private, for-profit health care.

A lower court found against Dr. Day in September 2020, and today’s decision to dismiss his appeal affirms the deeply engrained Canadian value that people deserve health care based on what they need, not what they can pay.

In dismissing Dr. Day’s claim, the court has, at least for now, shut the door to a two-tier health care system that would exacerbate wait times and prioritize profits over patient care. The privatization of services like cataract surgeries in Manitoba and MRIs in Saskatchewan have already demonstrated that creating a two-tier health care system only worsens wait times, and drains resources and staffing from the public system that everyday people rely on.

“The pandemic continues to leave our public health care system battered and understaffed, and the last thing we need is more US-style profiteering off the backs of patients and workers,” said CUPE National Secretary Treasurer Candace Rennick. “Now is the time to strengthen public health care, not undermine it.”