In August of 2017, the Canadian Constitution Foundation filed a request under BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), asking the BC government to come clean on just how much taxpayer money it has spent so far fighting to deny patients their right to timely healthcare treatment in our healthcare freedom case. In that case, the CCF is supporting a Charter challenge by patient plaintiffs and the Cambie Surgery Centre to bring choice and compassion to Canada’s healthcare 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.

Our information request asked the government to disclose:

“The cost of litigation… lawyers’ salaries, courtroom and other litigation fees, document production cost and other case-related expenses and disbursements, witness fees and disbursements…and any and all other information assigning any cost to the Government connected in any way to the litigation of the this case… incurred since 2009.”

In response, the officials in charge of managing the request prepared a document containing the global figure that we had requested. This process was then halted by the BC government as they forced an adjudicator to decide whether BC taxpayers were entitled to know how much of their own money had been spent to date on fighting against this constitutional challenge for patient rights.

On August 15, 2018, the adjudicator from the BC Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) ordered that our request must be granted and the financial information made public. The BC government appealed this decision, turning an administrative process into a full-blown legal case. Now the BC government is spending even more money to hide what they have spent defending a law that prevents BC residents from getting healthcare.

As a result, on March 28 and 29, 2019, the CCF was at the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver defending the rights of BC taxpayers to know how much has been spent by the BC government between 2009 and August 2017 fighting against healthcare choice and freedom. The CCF hopes the Court will decide in favour of BC taxpayers. The CCF is only seeking one number – one single number, representing the amount of taxpayer dollars the BC government has spent so far litigating against patients who just want to exercise their constitutional right to access timely healthcare – a number the BC Government admits it has, but refuses to make public.

The Supreme Court of BC has unfortunately ruled in favour of the Government of BC. After weighing our options, the CCF decided not to seek appeal.