Lawyer’s Daily featured article: What Snowbirds decision reveals about Canadian healthcare

By Executive Director Joanna Baron and Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn

The CCF’s Joanna Baron and Christine Van Geyn had an article recently published in the Lawyer’s Daily discussing a recent Ontario decision pertaining to healthcare with relevance to our ongoing Healthcare Freedom case (aka the Cambie case).

Read the full article mirrored on our website.

Decisions like Snowbirds — and of course the Supreme Court’s reasons in Chaoulli — illustrate the clear inconsistency of the the recent trial decision in our Healthcare Freedom case with the Charter. In pursuing an appeal for this case, Dr. Brian Day, the patient plaintiffs, the CCF, and all the supporters of greater healthcare choice and freedom, are asking the higher courts to clarify our rights. Canadian governments will be compelled to recognize patients’ right to choose if higher courts overturn the trial court decision and make a ruling consistent with existing section 7 jurisprudence. We look forward to seeking legal clarification of every Canadian’s basic right to seek out healthcare.

Poll findings show increased support for private healthcare options to deal with pandemic backlog

The CCF released results of a national poll this week that show a large amount of support for private healthcare options to deal with the surgical backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Almost every province shows a majority of the population supports the development of private healthcare options to address the hundreds of thousands of medically necessary surgeries that have been delayed as a result of COVID-19,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn.

Read more

Canadian Constitution Foundation looking forward to appeal of trial decision in Cambie litigation

VANCOUVER: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) is looking forward to the appeal of the decision in Cambie Surgeries Corporation v British Columbia (Attorney General). The decision was released by the BC Supreme Court on September 10, 2020.

“The trial decision contains errors in both fact and law, and we look forward to seeing this case appealed,” said CCF Executive Director, Joanna Baron. “We are disappointed in today’s result, which we find completely inconsistent with existing Charter case law and with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Chaoulli.

In the decision, Justice Steeves found that there was a violation of security of the person for individuals who are suffering from degenerative or deteriorating conditions and waiting for surgery in the government system beyond the medically acceptable wait times. However, Justice Steeves found that the patients had not demonstrated that their suffering was not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

“It is certainly not in accordance with fundamental justice to leave patients suffering on wait lists when there are existing clinics, that have existed for over 20 years, that could treat them. About 75,000 Canadians have died on wait lists since this case was launched in 2009, and this decision will lead to even more suffering. This decision is wrong, and we look forward to the appeal,” concluded Baron.

The CCF supports the plaintiffs in the Cambie litigation, but is not itself a party to the litigation.

CCF disappointed that BC government will continue to hide the taxpayer costs of fighting against patient rights

In June 2020, the CCF was in the Court of Appeal for British Columbia making oral arguments in favour of disclosing the government’s costs in our Healthcare Freedom case. We believe British Columbians should know how much money their government has spent paying for lawyers to use delay tactic after delay tactic in the hopes of exhausting the patient plaintiffs.

On August 21, 2020, the court ruled that the single global number of this expense is subject to solicitor-client privilege. While we were disappointed by this result and the precedent it sets for government accountability, we look forward to the decision in our main case for healthcare choice expected before the end of 2020.

Read our full release.

Five myths about Canada’s healthcare

We need to put patient rights at the centre of any discussion about healthcare. Our Healthcare Freedom case is about getting Canadian governments, first and foremost, to merely recognize that Canadians have a right to seek healthcare outside the public system when that system leaves them waiting and suffering.

Being put on a waiting list is not healthcare, and we need to have a serious conversation about alternative ways of delivering and paying for healthcare in Canada. But any time a conversation about alternatives to government hospitals is started, critics chime in with familiar myths about Canada’s healthcare system. The CCF’s Christine Van Geyn is featured in a new video addressing the five most common myths about about Canada’s government healthcare, and what an independent healthcare system could really mean for patients.

Also, don’t forget to to read Christine’s recent opinion piece:

Your Health Can’t Wait: Fighting for the right to seek healthcare

Today we released a new video explaining this case in anticipation for the decision, expected to come before the end of this summer.

Right now, it is effectively illegal for most Canadians to purchase healthcare for themselves or their families when the public system makes them wait too long. Please add your name to the growing list of Canadians supporting the constitutional rights of suffering patients by making a donation to help fund our court challenge.

Watch yesterday’s Zoom Town Hall with Dr. Brian Day

Yesterday’s Zoom Town Hall meeting is now available on YouTube. The CCF’s Joanna Baron and Christine Van Geyn hosted Dr. Brian Day via Zoom to discuss the Healthcare Freedom case (aka the Cambie case). Dr. Day answered questions and provided a superb summary of both the case’s history and his experience fighting for patient rights.

The BC case concluded this past February. We expect the court’s decision to be released before the end of the summer.

Donations for this case are still being collected as we fully expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Any donations given now will be directed towards fighting for patient rights for all Canadians.

Appeal hearing today! CCF in court for disclosure of what BC has spent fighting against healthcare choice

The Government of British Columbia really doesn’t want you to know how much the government has spent since 2009 fighting against patients suffering on waiting lists who want their Charter right to timely treatment. And lawyers representing the CCF were in the Court of Appeal for British Columbia today for the first hearing at this level of court to try and get a single, combined dollar figure. The CCF began this quest for a spending figure in 2017 by making a freedom of information request with the BC government through the standard administrative process. The government’s lawyers have acknowledged that they know the number, but they have so far refused to provide it.

We believe British Columbians should know how much money their government has spent paying for lawyers to use delay tactic after delay tactic in the hopes of exhausting the patient plaintiffs in the landmark Healthcare Freedom case. And we believe this remains as important as ever as we eagerly await for the decision for this same case —expected to be released this summer.

Ian Mulgrew: B.C.’s surgical plan gets a raspberry

“To increase surgery capacities, we will … contract with private surgical clinics that agree to follow the Canada Health Act,” says BC Health Minister Adrian Dix.

It’s hard to believe BC’s Health Minister, Adrian Dix, is part of the same government fighting Dr. Brian Day and our patient plaintiffs in court. The minister made these comments in addressing the issue of the ever increasing backlogs to surgery wait lists due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As our supporters know, our provincial government healthcare systems are not equipped to handle the demand of patients normally, let alone during a global health crisis. This is why Canadians should have the right to access private alternatives.

Read more in Ian Mulgrew’s latest article.

Gwyn Morgan: “After this crisis is behind us, we must fix our dangerous health-care system”

The unexpected public health crisis brought on by COVID-19, is quite fairly dominating the news cycle of the world at the moment. What does this mean for us fighting for more freedom and better outcomes in Canadian healthcare? The Nobel-prize winning economist Milton Friedman once said: “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.” The Canadian Constitution Foundation’s team was reminded of this quote in reading a recent opinion piece in the Financial Post by Gwyn Morgan on our healthcare systems’ response to this crisis. Canadians should always be fighting to do better, and we should be keeping this in mind even in times of crisis.

We depend on the generous support of Canadians to keep the fight for patient rights going. Please consider donating today. The initial trial in BC has ended, but we expect an appeal in BC regardless of the court’s decision and any money given now will help us pay for future legal fees.


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