The Supreme Court of Canada is pictured in Ottawa on Friday, March 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear appeal involving private health care

The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear a challenge of a British Columbia law intended to preserve public health care through measures against extra-billing and certain private insurance.

Two Vancouver private health facilities and four patients argued that provisions of the Medicare Protection Act violate constitutional rights due to long waits for care in B.C.’s publicly funded system.

They said this amounted to a breach of the patients’ life, liberty and security of the person under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Three years ago, the Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed the constitutional challenge.

Justice John Steeves said while long waits for care might increase the risk to some patients, the provisions were justified by the overall objective of supporting a system in which access to health care is based on need, not the ability to pay.

The B.C. Court of Appeal upheld the decision last year, prompting the parties to take their case to the Supreme Court of Canada.