Home Cases Cambie v. MSCBC et al. (Patient rights & health care freedom)

Cambie v. MSCBC et al. (Patient rights & health care freedom)

By | on Sep 06 2016

From Cases, Ongoing Cases

Cambie Surgeries Corporation et al v. Medical Services Commission et al. is a constitutional challenge taking place in British Columbia to bring choice and compassion to Canada’s health care system. The goal is to stop the suffering and empower Canadians to care for their own health, as should be their right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ guarantee of security of the person.

Three of the plaintiffs in this case are teenagers whose young lives have already been negatively shaped by British Columbia’s ban on accessing private care outside the government system. They include Walid Khalfallah, an 18-year-old with progressive spine deformity who was paralyzed after a 27-month wait for care; and 18-year-old Chris Chiavatti, who suffered permanent damage while waiting for treatment of his knee injury. Another plaintiff, 37-year-old Mandy Martens, saw her cancer spread while she languished on a waitlist. Two other British Columbians were originally part of the case, but they died waiting for it to go to trial.

In the 2005 Chaoulli case, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the rights of Quebec residents were violated by laws that forced citizens to wait, while denying them the right to access care outside of the government system. All Canadians should have the same protection. But because the Chaoulli case was decided based on the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, its effects have been confined to that province.

If the plaintiffs in this case succeed, patients in British Columbia will be free to buy private health insurance and to pay for treatment for all health services (covered by the province or not) with the doctor of their choice. By the same token, private clinics will be free to accept non-government funding for all the health services they offer.

On April 10, 2017, the plaintiffs requested an adjournment because the Defendant’s litigation tactics have caused them to run out of funds. This case is not over. The plaintiffs intend to use the period of the adjournment to raise further funds from the public and supporters so they can resume their constitutional challenge on behalf of all Canadians who are suffering, or will suffer in the future, from cruel and worsening public wait lists. Read the full release here.

Sign-up for regular updates about this case at YourHealthCantWait.ca.


  • CCF Launch: November 2011
  • Legal Jurisdiction: British Columbia
  • Next Key date: Trial ongoing

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