The Cambie Surgeries case seeks to strike down laws that ensure health care is based on need and not an individual's ability to pay


This constitutional challenge threatens health care for everyone in Canada.

The protections this case seek to strike down are designed to “preserve a publicly managed and fiscally sustainable health care system for British Columbia in which access to necessary medical care is based on need and not an individual's ability to pay”[i]  by:

  1. Prohibiting doctors who are enrolled in the publicly funded system from: 
    • billing above the prices negotiated between the government and doctors (extra billing)
    • billing both the patient and the public system for the same service (double billing)

  2. Restricting doctors from having one foot in the publicly funded system and the other in the privately financed system (dual practice);

  3. Prohibiting the sale of private insurance that duplicates services provided in the public system.

The case will almost certainly advance to the Supreme Court of Canada. The challenged protections lay the foundation for universal public health care and are mandated by the Canada Health Act and carried out through the provincial health care plans (e.g. MSP and OHIP).

[i] Medicare Protection Act, section 2.