Private B.C. medical clinics win injunction against law that banned them
VANCOUVER - Private clinics embroiled in a legal battle against the British Columbia government have scored a victory after a judge ordered an injunction against provisions in the law banning private-pay medically necessary health services.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Janet Winteringham says in a written ruling released Friday that the government cannot enforce the provisions until their constitutionality is determined at trial.
She says the plaintiffs have established that there are serious questions to be tried, including that some patients will suffer serious physical or psychological harm while waiting for public health services.
Health Minister Adrian Dix announced this spring that starting in October, doctors who charge patients for medically necessary procedures would face initial fines of $10,000 as the province enforces the law that hadn't been fully enacted in 15 years.
Winteringham's ruling means the provisions cannot be enforced until June or pending a further order of the court.
Dr. Brian Day of the Cambie Surgery Centre and other plaintiffs launched the legal challenge arguing the province doesn't provide timely medical services, yet residents are prohibited from accessing private health care.
Another clinic and several patients launched the constitutional challenge to the provisions of the law nearly a decade ago and the trial continues.