Late last week, the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear an appeal in the case of Cambie Surgeries Corporation v. British Columbia.
While this closes the constitutional challenge to Medicare in B.C., it is not the end of the discussion about the role of private-sector providers in Canada’s publicly funded health systems.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) believes a wider public discussion on this matter is necessary and timely. This must be part of the ongoing dialogue patients, providers and policymakers are having about funding, access and capacity.
We need these conversations to be informed, constructive and focused on the right priorities: patients having timely, effective and equitable access to care and providers thriving in healthy working environments.
In the coming months, the CMA will lead a series of Canada-wide consultations on the issue of private providers in our public health systems, grounded in funding, access and capacity. This will begin at our annual Health Summit, August 17-18, and involve public polling, virtual consultations and in-person events over the Fall and early Winter.
The results of these discussions will inform CMA policy going forward and will provide a forum to contribute to public policy setting more generally. Thanks in advance to all who will participate for your time, ideas and energy. The path to a better health care system requires us to work through these issues together.
Dr. Alika Lafontaine