BC Government wants to shut down medical clinics mid-pandemic

TORONTO: On November 17 and 18, Cambie Surgeries Corporation will be in court fighting for patients’ right to access non-government medical clinics that have served BC patients for over 20 years.

The BC Court of Appeal will hear the injunction arguments in Cambie Surgeries v Attorney General (BC). Cambie Surgeries Corporation will argue that patients have a right to continue to access private surgical and diagnostic clinics while the larger case on the future of private healthcare is appealed.

“It’s hard to believe that in the middle of a global pandemic, the BC government wants to restrict access to healthcare for ideological reasons,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn. “There are hundreds of surgeries that have been delayed as a result of COVID-19, and these clinics are vital in tackling the backlog of patients who can’t get care in government hospitals,” continued Van Geyn.

This injunction comes on the heels of the trial decision in Cambie Surgeries v Attorney General (BC). The trial judge in that case held that the BC Medicare Protection Act, which denies patients the right to pay for private surgery or obtain private insurance, violates patients’ section 7 Charter right to security of person. However, the trial judge declined to strike down the law because he held that the denial of this right is in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

The trial decision is being appealed, and while the parties litigate, Cambie is seeking the ability to continue to treat patients, something they have already been doing in BC for more than 20 years.

“It is hard to understand how it is fundamentally just to leave pediatric patients to suffer unnecessarily when there is another option. Patients should not be sacrificed on the altar of a failed healthcare ideology, and we are confident in our arguments for the appeal,” continued Van Geyn. “While we await the appeal, we want to make sure patients get the best care available. And that means keeping these non-government clinics open for patients.”

The CCF is a registered charity, independent and non-partisan. We defend the constitutional rights and freedoms of Canadians in the courts of law and public opinion. The CCF is supporting Cambie Surgeries Corporation in their litigation.

The original version of this release can be found here.