The "Cambie" case is a constitutional challenge that puts public health care in Canada on trial. The decisions in the case could fundamentally shift how health care is delivered in Canada to a US-style health care system.
Cambie Surgeries CEO Brian Day launched this constitutional challenge to public health care in BC in 2009 after he learned his private for-profit surgical clinics were going to be audited by the BC Government. The audit was triggered by dozens of patients who complained that they had been illegally over-billed at Cambie Surgeries clinics. An audit later revealed that Day’s clinics had overcharged patients by almost half a million dollars in just 30 days. Instead of paying back the money his clinics illegally over-billed, Brian Day marshalled a group of private, for-profit clinics and a few of his patients to file a constitutional challenge against key protections in BC's Medicare Protection Act (Sections 14, 17, and 18).
The challenged protections 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”.
The case will almost certainly advance to the Supreme Court of Canada. The outcome will impact all provinces and territories because the protections the corporate plaintiffs seek to strike down are central to the Canada Health Act and every provincial health care insurance plan.