Personal injury lawyers need to understand that provincial governments owe injury claimants no duty of care. In this Supreme Court of Canada case the residents of long-term care facilities sued as a class, alleging that the government artificially elevated the required resident contributions to subsidize medical expenses that were properly the responsibility of government.(Alberta v. Elder Advocates of Alberta Society, 2011 SCC 24).
The Health Care Insurance Act imposes an obligation on the Province to provide medical care, but does not require the Province to act in the best interests of residents generally, or in the best interests of patients residing in long‑term care facilities including people injured in car accidents. The ground breaking decision reveals the fundamental flaw of our health care system in Canada which the top personal injury lawyers in British Columbia should be aware.
The concept of universal heath care is often associated with utilitarianism in the sense that the health care system is created for the greater good. This decision tests the limits of the Canadian perception of universal heath care.
As the Supreme Court of Canada pointed out at para 62 , “The Crown would be unable to meet its obligations to the public at large if we were to hold it to a fiduciary standard of conduct for one group among so many others.”
With respect to the claim of negligence against the Alberta government the court stated, “ In the absence of a statutory duty, the fact that Alberta may have audited, supervised, monitored and generally administered the accommodation fees objected to does not create sufficient proximity to impose a prima facie duty of care. ” In other words the Providence owes these care residents no duty of care.
Posted byMr. Renn A. Holness
Issue: Is this decision consistent with our societal respect for the dignity of the human person?