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HEALTH REFORM - HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The Canadian Independent Medical Clinics Association (CIMCA) and a number of clinics and doctors have this year become involved in 2 challenges before the BC Supreme Court.
Governments are attempting to restrict the rights of patients suffering while they wait for medical care. We believe it to be unlawful and contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In Chaoulli, the SCC declared that it was unlawful to force patients to remain on waitlists. We will ask a BC court whether a Canadian suffering on a waitlist outside of Quebec should have the same protection under Canadian law as they would in Quebec.
"...we conclude that where the publicly funded system fails to deliver timely access, governments act unlawfully in prohibiting Canadians to use their own resources to access those services privately". Patrick Monahan, Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto
"I find that the prohibition infringes the right to personal inviolability and that it is not justified by a proper regard for democratic values, public order and the general well-being of the citizens of Quebec." Justice Marie Deschamps, Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Chaoulli 2005.
Canadians on wait lists impose major financial burden on organizations, and the economy in general. As costs escalate at an unsustainable rate, individuals suffer medical harm.
WHAT WILL A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME MEAN FOR CANADIANS?
We are asking the Court to reject enforced rationing as the principal approach to achieving health care sustainability. If successful, Canadians and Canadian businesses and their employees will benefit.
- The elimination of costly waitlists.
- Increased access to health technology.
- Citizens allowed choice and the right to purchase private insurance.
- The creation of a hybrid "European Style" universal health system.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
This is one of the most important legal interventions ever embarked upon in Canada. The action will be expensive and we are seeking financial support. Corporations or individuals who believe in the important principles at stake are asked to make a donation. Any amount will be gratefully received. This is a Canadian Charter case and will impact provinces outside of Quebec.
January 28, 2009
CIMCA Challenges Legal Ban on Access to Independent Clinics
Vancouver, B.C. - The Canadian Independent Medical Clinics Association (CIMCA) along with a group of independent BC medical clinics, today launched a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of B.C. to have legal restrictions on access to independent clinics struck down because they deprive patients of rights guaranteed by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"The Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Chaoulli case was clear - access delayed is access denied. Patients are suffering and dying as a result of waiting for care in B.C.," said Dr. Brian Day, Medical Director of the Cambie Surgery Centre, one of the independent clinics launching the suit. CIMCA is going to court to ensure that B.C. laws are modified to conform to the laws of Canada, as set forth by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The CIMCA challenge argues that sections of B.C.'s Medicare Protection Act effectively force patients to remain on unacceptably long wait lists, no matter what the degree of pain, suffering or disability they are experiencing.
The Medical Services Commission, the Minister of Health Services, and the Attorney General of British Columbia are all named as defendants in the action.
"The crux of the problem is this - if the public health care system cannot provide care to patients in a timely manner, then it is simply wrong to throw up road blocks to patients seeking the health care they need," Dr. Day added. "The Supreme Court of Canada has stated this in no uncertain terms, and we intend to ensure that B.C. provincial law complies with the laws of Canada. Patients in British Columbia should not have their constitutional rights overridden by Draconian laws that deny them access to care."
CIMCA is a non-profit organization that represents medical clinics, patients, health care workers and their advocates and supporters. Its mission is to promote improved access to high quality, timely health care for all Canadians.
For further information contact:
Victor Vrsnik, T: 604.331.2530 M: 604.764.2877
The Canadian Independent Medical Clinics Association (CIMCA)
represents independent health care providers and their supporters to promote improved access to high quality and timely health care for all Canadians.