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OTTAWA Fed up with federal inaction in defence of our public health care system, a coalition of social groups is taking the Chrt0069en government to court for its failure to comply with the Canada Health Act.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Health Coalition announced today that they are filing an application with the federal court to force the federal government to live up to its responsibilities under the Canada Health Act. Last year CUPE and CEP successfully blocked the privatization of Hydro One with a court challenge.

Clearly this government acts only when it’s forced to, so we’re taking them to court, said CUPE National President Judy Darcy. Their inaction is jeopardizing our ability as Canadians to get health care when and where we need it. We can’t let this negligence continue.

In a letter to federal health minister Anne McLellan, the groups point out that the federal government has failed in its statutory responsibilities under the Canada Health Act.

The Chrt0069en government has failed to set in place the checks and balances that would protect our right to an accessible, universal, portable, comprehensive and publicly administered health care system, said Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians. They’re fiddling while Rome burns.

The groups are not alone in their criticism. Members of parliament and the Auditor General have condemned the federal government for not living up to its obligations under the Act. But they are the first to challenge the federal government through the courts.

There’s no proper monitoring, reporting or enforcement and as a result, provinces across the country are thumbing their noses at the federal government and the principles of the Canada Health Act, said Brian Payne, president of CEP.

The minister and the prime minister can’t dodge this responsibility any longer, said Kathleen Connors, president of the CFNU. Canadians want an open, accountable health care system that assures them top quality care and good value for their tax dollars.

The groups indicated they would be filing their application in the federal court within six weeks.


For information, contact: Robert Fox, CUPE Communications, 613-795-4977