The Charter Connection: drug addicts, prostitutes, and patients
If you’re a drug addict who wants a clean needle and a supervised injection site where you can shoot up your body with drugs; you have Insite in British Columbia. If you’re a prostitute who wants the security of a house from which to sell your body for sex; you’ll soon have brothels in Ontario. If you’re a patient who wants to purchase medically necessary services for your body; you have to leave the country.
Last year’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Insite and a recent Ontario Court of Appeal ruling on prostitution laws and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should serve as wake-up calls to patients across the country. It’s time to start paying attention to health care legislation and its impact on your individual rights.
Every individual in Canada is guaranteed “…the right to life, liberty and security of the person…” under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Dr. Jacques Chaoulli and George Zeliotis made headlines across the country when their case concerning Charter rights and health care legislation in Quebec reached the Supreme Court of Canada in 2005. They won their case but the landmark ruling only applied in the province of Quebec.
Lindsay McCreith and Shona Holmes of Ontario and Dr. Brian Day of British Columbia are currently involved with court cases in their respective provinces. Both cases claim that their provincial health care legislation violates the individual rights of patients by prohibiting them from purchasing medical services and private insurance for medical services. For this patient, these court cases and the individuals supporting them are beacons of hope.
Someday we’ll find it, the Charter connection. The drug addicts, the prostitutes, and me.