CUPE lauds decisive win for public health care in BC Supreme Court decision

It’s a development that will have repercussions across the country.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is applauding the BC Supreme Court’s decision to protect Canada’s universal public health care system in a ruling released today on the Cambie v. British Columbia case. The case was brought by Dr. Brian Day, CEO of Cambie Surgeries Corporation, who is seeking to overturn the ban on for-profit health care and bring a US-style medical system into Canada.

“Health care in Canada is a right, not a market commodity. This is a decisive win for universal public health care in Canada,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “Our health care system doesn’t need more venture capitalists, it needs more funding, beds, and health care workers to help improve quality of care and reduce wait times and backlogs. CUPE will keep up the fight for public solutions to the challenges facing our health care system, along with our allies.”

In 2012, Dr. Day was found guilty of overcharging patients almost half a million dollars in a 30-day period, but challenged that ruling and filed a Charter challenge, alleging that the Canada Health Act and provincial health legislation violates his freedoms by restricting private, for-profit health care.

Today’s ruling dismisses Dr. Day’s claims and affirms the deeply-rooted Canadian value that people should receive health care based on what they need, not what they can pay. Had the court validated Dr. Day’s claim, it could have opened the door to a two-tier health care system that would have exacerbated wait times and prioritized profits over patient care.

“Privatization of services, like cataract surgeries in Manitoba and MRIs in Saskatchewan, have already shown us what happens when we privatize health care: even longer wait times and a two-tier system that drains resources from everyone who relies on the public system,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury.

CUPE is Canada’s largest union, representing 700,000 workers nationwide, including 158,000 health care workers across the country. CUPE represents around 30,000 workers in New Brunswick.

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