Cambie Surgeries CEO Brian Day launched the lawsuit in 2009 after he learned his clinics were going to be audited by the BC Government. The audit was triggered by dozens of patients who complained that they’d been illegally overbilled at Cambie's clinics.
The original plaintiffs included six private, for-profit clinics: Cambie Surgeries Corporation, Delbrook Surgical Centre Inc., False Creek Surgical Centre Inc., Okanagan Health Surgical Centre Inc., Okanagan Health Surgical Centre Inc., and Ultima Medical Services Inc. and the Canadian Independent Medical Clinics Association (of which Brian Day was President at the time).
The clinics lawsuit challenges the single most important feature of the Canadian model: that health care be provided according to a patient's need and not his or her ability to pay for treatment.
All of the corporate plaintiffs except for Day's Cambie Surgery Centre and the Specialist Referral clinic have dropped out of the case.
Four patients, two of whom received care at Cambie, have since joined the remaining clinics as plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs are asking the Court to rule that four sections of B.C.’s health care legislation (the Medicare Protection Act) violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They argue that the prohibition on user fees, extra-billing (charging patients more than the legal amount), and the ban on duplicative health insurance (the sale of private health insurance for services that are already covered by public health insurance) violate the Constitution.
The plaintiffs argue that these rules violate two sections of the Charter: Section 7 (the right to life, liberty and security of the person) and Section 15 (every individual is equal before and under the law).