CUPE is celebrating news that the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear an appeal of the Cambie Surgeries Corporation v. British Columbia case that sought to overturn a ban on for-profit health care and bring a US-style medical system into Canada.

“Today’s ruling upholds a fundamental principle of what it means to live in Canada: that people deserve health care based on what they need, not what they can pay,” said CUPE’s National President Mark Hancock. “Our public health care system isn’t up for debate, and it isn’t for sale either.”

“We have to remain vigilant,” said CUPE’s National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. “From coast to coast, right-wing premiers are starving our health care system of the resources it needs, and using the resulting crises as an excuse to privatize and contract out even more health care services to for-profit providers.”

The decision sends a clear message that governments everywhere must close the door on a two-tier health care system that exacerbates wait times and prioritizes profits over patient care. Many provinces are allowing private clinics to exploit loopholes in the Canada Health Act that allow the clinics to charge extra fees for health care services.

“This battle is won, but the war is far from over,” continued Hancock. “We have our work cut out for us to make sure our public health care system gets the funding and the staffing that patients and workers deserve.”

CUPE is Canada’s largest union, representing nearly 200,000 workers in health care nationwide, and was active in the case as part of the BC Health Coalition.

“We want to extend our gratitude and our solidarity to all the allies and people who fought hard for this victory,” said Rennick. “Let’s keep working together to defend and strengthen public health care in Canada.”