Health Care and the Charter
180 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Jul 2018
Release Date:15 Jan 2018
Release Date:15 Jan 2018
Release Date:15 Jan 2018

Health Care and the Charter

Legal Mobilization and Policy Change in Canada

SERIES: Law and Society
UBC Press

Since the introduction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, individuals and organizations have increasingly turned to the courts to try to bring about policy change in a variety of areas, including health care. But although the outcomes of Supreme Court cases on health care issues are closely watched, can they effect actual change in policy?

Health Care and the Charter explores the systematic use of Charter litigation in the area of health care and the ultimate policy impact of the resulting judicial decisions. Christopher P. Manfredi and Antonia Maioni examine three of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in recent years. Two of the cases – Eldridge (1997) and Auton (2004) – invited the Court to extend the scope of publicly funded services. By contrast, Chaouilli (2005) asked the Court to allow private health services. Eldridge and Chaoulli provided legal victories to rights claimants; Auton dealt a legal defeat to its initiators.

This book explores the paths that brought litigants to the Court, the arguments and evidence they mustered to support their positions, and the substance of the victory or defeat the Court provided them. The volume then assesses the ultimate impact of these cases in both policy and political terms.

Health Care and the Charter will be of interest to students and scholars of courts, rights litigation, and health policy, as well as health policy scholars, policy-makers, legal scholars, political scientists, and readers with a general interest in the issue of health care and the courts.

Health Care and the Charter is the kind of book that has you wondering why it hadn’t been written earlier. It asks and answers powerful questions about how the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions work their way back out into the everyday world. Given the tendency and the temptation to treat ‘the Supreme Court has spoken’ as the end of the story, this is a powerful and necessary corrective and one that is extremely well done. Peter McCormick, professor of political science, University of Lethbridge
Health Care and the Charter uses three important case studies to address the Supreme Court’s impact on health policy, as well as our broader understanding of litigation under the Charter of Rights. It is an insightful book on an important topic. Emmett Macfarlane, associate professor of political science, University of Waterloo

Christopher P. Manfredi is a professor of political science and provost and vice-principal (academic) at McGill University. He served as coeditor the Canadian Journal of Political Science (1996–99) and as a special guest on the editorial committee of the Annual Review of Law and Social Science (2005). He has written four books, including Feminist Activism in the Supreme Court: Legal Mobilization and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (2004), which won the Canadian Law and Society Association’s Best Book Award. He has also coedited two books, including Contested Constitutionalism: Reflections on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (2009).

Antonia Maioni is a professor of political science and dean of the Faculty of Arts at McGill University. She previously served as Associate Vice-Principal for Research and International Relations (2015–16) and as the director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (2001–11). Her research and publications focus on social and health policy; and Canadian, Québec, and comparative politics. She served as president of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences from 2013 to 2015, and she has served on the Research Council of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research since 2015.


The Supreme Court and Health Policy: An Overview

Eldridge v British Columbia: Effective Communication and the Sounds of Silence

Auton v British Columbia: Reversal of Fortune

Chaoulli v Quebec: The Last Line of Defence for Citizens


Notes; Bibliography; Cases Cited; Index

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