B.C. Court of Appeal rejects private health care, says Charter breach OK

·1 min read

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia Court of Appeal has unanimously upheld a lower court's dismissal of a Vancouver surgeon’s challenge of the Medicare Protection Act, saying bans on extra billing and private insurance do not violate the Charter.

The court did find the lower-court judge erred in his analysis of the right to life and says in its ruling the act’s provisions do deprive some patients not only to their right to security of the person, but to the right to life.

However, the court ruled that breach can be overruled by Section 1 of the Charter, which says rights can be limited if they are shown to be reasonable in a democratic society.

Dr. Brian Day challenged the act, saying wait times in the public health system are too long and stopping patients from paying for those services outside the public system violates their rights.

Day launched his Charter challenge in 2009 and the case landed in B.C. Supreme Court in 2016 with support from four patients as co-plaintiffs.

After a four-year trial, B.C. Supreme Court ruled in September 2020 that lawyers for Day and other plaintiffs failed to show patients' rights are being infringed by the provincial act.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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