Law Courts Building in Vancouver, BCToday’s ruling by the BC Court of Appeal dismissing a constitutional challenge by Brian Day and his Cambie Surgery Centre is another important win for public health care and a resounding defeat for private, for-profit health care that affirms fundamental principles of justice and fairness, says CUPE BC.

The Court’s decision upholds a 2020 ruling by the BC Supreme Court that dismissed Day’s claims that patients have a Charter-protected right to pay for private care when wait times in the public system are too long. Today’s ruling affirms that public solutions are the most effective way to decrease wait times—that public health care must be improved, not dismantled.

“This is a great day for public health care,” said CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta.

“Had the Court overturned the trial judgement, that would have resulted in a two-tier system favouring the wealthy and sending everyone else to the back of the line—no matter how sick or in need of care. When properly funded, Canada’s health care system is fair and accessible for everyone. Two-tier health care doesn’t reduce wait times. If anything, it does just the opposite by draining resources from the public system.”

Today’s decision does not prevent Dr. Day from appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada, but the BC Court of Appeal’s ruling is significant because it reinforces the trial judge’s determination that the public model does not infringe on Canadians’ Charter rights.

Ranalletta added that the public health care system has suffered from the federal government’s failure to consult with the provinces on the future of health care funding in Canada.

“The federal government’s share of health care funding should be at least 35 per cent, but they’re only covering 22 per cent of costs right now,” she said. “That’s why today’s Court of Appeal decision is so important. It’s now time for Justin Trudeau and his government to step up, end this debate once and for all, and contribute their fair share to public health care in this country.”