The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is celebrating the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss a case which would have opened the door to widespread healthcare privatization.
On July 15, the court dismissed Dr. Brian Day’s case, which argued that the doctor had the right to set up a private for-profit surgery clinic due to long wait times in the public system.
“This was a case about the future of public health care in Canada,” says AUPE vice-president Sandra Azocar. “This is about whether wealthy people should be allowed to buy their way to the front of the line. We’re glad that the case was recognized for what it is — an attempt to fundamentally undermine healthcare equity in Canada.”
For Azocar, this case has implications well beyond British Columbia. “The United Conservative Party in Alberta was inspired by Brian Day, and wanted to put his ideas into practice here,” she says. “If Day had succeeded, we expect that the government of Alberta would have immediately begun healthcare privatization.”
Dr. Day is widely expected to bring his case to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the decision will have direct ramifications on healthcare provision in all provinces.
“This is a victory, but it isn’t a final victory,” Azocar says. “The people who want American-style private healthcare in Canada aren’t going away. They’re going to keep trying to profit off of sickness, and we’re going to keep fighting them.”
“The best way for us to prevent American-style healthcare in Canada is to re-invest in the public system,” Azocar says. “It’s time to reverse decades of attacks. It’s time to improve staffing levels and quality of care. Privatizers want to break the public system so that we run towards expensive, unequal private care. So we need to fight on two fronts—to shut down attempts to build parallel private healthcare, and to re-fund and fix the public system.”
AUPE will continue to monitor Dr. Day’s case as it likely moves to the Supreme Court, and will be prepared to take action against any attempt by the government of Alberta to introduce further privatization.
Sandra Azocar is available for comment. Contact Jon Milton, communications officer, at email@example.com