Media Releases

Reaction to the British Columbia court decision on the public health care monopoly

Montreal, July 15, 2022 – The British Columbia Court of Appeal issued a decision earlier today in the case pitting the Cambie Surgeries Corporation against the provincial government. Like the Chaoulli decision in Quebec, this case essentially turns on the freedom of choice of patients who want to be treated rapidly by health care entrepreneurs.

“The different waves of COVID-19 have highlighted the lack of flexibility and inability to adapt of this government monopoly, which is just about unique in the world,” says Maria Lily Shaw, Economist at the MEI. “Reforms inspired by European countries are needed in order to substantially increase the capacity of the system.”

“The decision handed down today is very disappointing. There is absolutely no justification for maintaining a government monopoly on the provision of medical care,” points out the economist. “Reforms are needed in order to make our health care system more efficient, and hopefully the provinces will have the courage to act.”

“It’s important to remember that Canada is the odd man out among industrialized countries in preventing the purchase of duplicate private insurance in order to obtain timely care,” indicates Krystle Wittevrongel, Senior Public Policy Analyst at the MEI. “The next steps will be crucial, since the Cambie Surgeries Corporation could appeal the decision, but even if they ultimately prevail, the provincial government could severely restrict the scope of the ruling, as Quebec did after Chaoulli,” concludes Ms. Wittevrongel.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.

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Interview requests: Josée Morissette, Senior Advisor, Media Relations, MEI. Cell: 418-929-5291 / Email: jmorissette@iedm.org

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