Today, the Counsel for the Attorney General of Canada (AGC) gave their opening remarks in defense of Canada's universal public health care system. Over the next two weeks, their witnesses will testify about the federal government's role in health care, the initiatives the federal government has taken to reduce wait times, the effects of a two-tier health system on equity for Canadians and that health inequalities will increase across the country if Cambie were to be successful in their case.
Today, the plaintiffs, Cambie et al, closed their case. Their case began in September 2016 and after several procedural delays, the plaintiffs completed their testimony last week, and officially closed their case this morning.
Starting tomorrow, the court will hear from the various intervenor groups (including us) and the lawyers from the Attorney General of Canada.
The Defense, the Attorney General of Britisth Columbia, will start their case on May 7th.
The primary plaintiff in the Charter Challenge against BC’s Medicare Protection Act, President and CEO of Cambie Surgeries Corporation Brian Day, took the witness stand this week as his lawyers continue to present their case aimed at removing the prohibitions on extra billing and private insurance.
Almost the entire three days of Day’s testimony centred on his cross-examination by the lawyers for the defendants, the Province of BC.
The summer break is over, and the Cambie trial is back in the courtroom as of this week. There will be three weeks of witnesses, including Brian Day (starting September 17), on the stand over September. During the week of September 24, when the Cambie trial is not sitting, Judge Winteringham will hear the injunction application being brought by Cambie.Read more
Today, Cambie's lawyers filed a new Civil Claim against Section 18.1 of the Medicare Protection Amendment Act.
Section 18.1 was a new section added to the Medicare Protection Act. The NDP Government enacted this legislation in April - see our press release about Bill 92 HERE. Section 18.1 puts limits on direct or extra-billing in a diagnostic facility - in other words, enrolled physicians cannot charge patients directly, or more than the negotiated fee with the Ministry of Health.
Because there were changes to the legislation that this trial is based on, Day's lawyers had to amend their Notice of Claim to make sure it related to the current, updated legislation, specifically relating to Sections 17, 18 and 18.1.
Judge Steeves ruled however, that since Section 18.1 is new legislation (it did not exist in the Medicare Protection Act, which the current trial is based on) and neither Cambie and Specialist Referral Services are directly affected by the legislation since they do not offer diagnostic services, it could not be included in the current civil claim filed by Cambie. They would have to start a whole new claim - which they now have done, and have added a new claimant - Surrey MRI Clinic.
There are still a number of steps before this becomes an actual case in the courts - we will keep you posted.
Today, Brian Day’s private, for-profit clinic Cambie Surgeries filed an injunction application to stop the province’s enforcement law against extra-billing, the Medicare Protection Amendment Act (Bill 92), from coming into force on October 1st, 2018.
You can read our press release HERE.
The trial will be in the courtroom for the last three days of this week, and will mostly be hearing various applications. There is still uncertainty about the schedule for the next couple of weeks, but we do know that Day will NOT be on the stand the week of June 4th as previously thought. There is no new dates set for when that might be.
A request was made, and granted, to adjourn the trial for the month of May (due to a personal issue). It is expected to start up again on Monday, May 28th, with Brian Day tentatively scheduled to be on the stand the week of June 4th. We will know more after the Judicial Management Conference this Friday.
On April 4, 2018 the BC Government announced that they were bringing into force the outstanding sections of the Medicare Protection Amendment Act (2003). As this legislation updated Sections 17 and 18 of the Medicare Protection Act, the Plaintiffs will have to update their Statement of Claim. This application will take place the week of May 28.
Also, because this legislation is strengthening the enforcement of doctors and clinics who are extra-billing unlawfully, the Plaintiffs have also indicated that they will be bringing forward an application to have the start date of the enforcement legislation be moved from its current start date on October 1, 2018 to sometime after this case has been finished.
Today was the official resumption of the Cambie Corp. vs BC Charter Challenge at B.C. Supreme Court. The day began with a Judicial Management Meeting to talk about trial administrative and scheduling issues. The primary discussion at this meeting was the announcement by the BC Government this past week about enacting enforcement legislation about extra-billing (see announcement here).Read more