Your Health Still Can't Wait

In the 2005 Supreme Court case known as Chaoulli v. Quebec, the court found that the Quebec government could not block patients in the province from paying for surgeries when suffering on excessively long waiting lists. To do so—according to the court, would violate their rights.

Do Canadians have equal rights? One would assume so, but a technicality in this seminal decision prevented it from definitively recognizing that right in the rest of Canada. As a result, most Canadians are stuck on waiting lists even as provincial healthcare monopolies become less and less capable of delivering timely care.

This is why the Canadian Constitution Foundation supported Dr. Brian Day and the Cambie Surgery Centre in their case fighting for patients in B.C. This case challenged restrictions in BC’s Medicare Protection Act that prevented Canadians from getting better access to care.

If we had won that case it may have finally kick started a process of rethinking and rebuilding healthcare in Canada. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the case without giving reasons why, and left important legal questions about Canadian rights unanswered.

But we are not giving up.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation will not give up on this public interest issue, because we still believe all Canadians—not just Quebeckers—have a right to seek out healthcare when left suffering on waiting lists.

Now, the BC government is demanding that the CCF and its partners pay $1.7 million dollars to cover some of the legal bills they racked up fighting against Canadians’ rights. To put that amount into perspective, the Canadian Constitution Foundation spent less than $2.1 million on all of our work (including ALL of our cases, special projects and events) in the last fiscal year.

"If the BC government gets their way, it will discourage all civil society groups from standing up for your rights."

We’re going to fight this demand and ask the court to throw out this ridiculous demand.

No one forced the government to spend millions of taxpayer dollars fighting against healthcare choice.
No one forced the government to spend even more money to hide those costs.
No one forced the government to fight against the recognition of a basic right to seek out healthcare.

But the BC government still wants to punish the CCF and its supporters for engaging in obviously public interest litigation. If the BC government gets their way, it will discourage all civil society groups from standing up for your rights and chill attempts to challenge government overreach through all types of Charter litigation.

With your help we can stop this attack on public interest litigation and get back to fighting for your rights.

Provincial laws in Canada that violate the right to security of person are open to a challenge if they prevent Canadians from seeking out healthcare. It’s unconstitutional, unjust and inhumane to deny Canadians this basic right if the public monopoly forces them to suffer on waiting lists.