TORONTO (OCTOBER 27, 2016) – Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) congratulates the Réseau FADOQ, Marc Ferland, and Liette Hacala Meunier in their successful campaign to compel the federal government to enforce the Canada Health Act (CHA).
Lawyers for these organizations announced today they are no longer pursuing legal action to require the federal government to act against Bill 20 in Québec. The plaintiffs, represented by lawyer Jean-Pierre Ménard, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus on May 2, 2016, asking the Federal Court to order Canada’s Minister of Health to apply the CHA and end extra-billing in their province.
The plaintiffs dropped the case in light of actions taken by Minister Jane Philpott on September 6 when she asked Québec’s Health Minister Gaétan Barrette to end all extra-billing practices immediately or the federal health transfer payment to Québec would be reduced. On September 14, Minister Barrette said that he would table legislation to abolish all extra billing.
“Today is a major victory for patients’ rights in Québec; however, FADOQ’s court action should never have been necessary,” said Dr. Monika Dutt, Chair, Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “Extra-billing is illegal and is a barrier to receiving medically necessary health care.”
“It is incumbent upon Minister Philpott to continue to speak out and penalize all violations of the Canada Health Act across the country,” Dutt continued.
Although these legal proceedings are done for now, CDM will to continue its support of FADOQ as well as monitor Québec’s progress in the elimination of extra-billing.
The people of Québec are not alone in facing these challenges to public healthcare. Violations of the CHA are evident in many parts of Canada. In 2016, for instance, CDM asked Minister Philpott to defend and enforce the Act against contraventions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario as well as Québec.
“The events in Québec are a clear signal of the importance for all provinces and territories to adhere to the Canada Health Act,” Dutt continued. “Canadian Doctors for Medicare hopes that further legal action to ensure the federal government enforces its own legislation will not be necessary.”
Canadian Doctors for Medicare provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. We advocate for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.
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