Access to Care, Access to Justice:

The Legal Debate over Private Health Insurance in Canada

September 16, 2005


Hosted by the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto


Venue:         Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Conference Room 701

South Building, 222 Bremner Boulevard

Toronto, Ontario



We would like to thank the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Law Foundation of Ontario, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, and the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation for their generous sponsorship of this event.  We also appreciate the support of the Health Law Institutes of Dalhousie and Alberta.


Click on the session title links to listen to or download an MP3 recording of the discussion in each session
(First MP3 includes the introduction, last MP3 includes final remarks)
NOTE: the MP3 files are very large


8:45             Introduction and Overview

                    Welcome by Lorne Sossin, Associate Dean – Faculty of Law


Opening Remarks by Morris Barer, CIHR


                    Opening Remarks by the Hon. Roy Romanow


9:15             Session One: The Chaoulli Decision (panel discussion)

Chair, Michael Decter, Health Council of Canada


Kent Roach, University of Toronto

“Too Much Judicial Activism or Too Little?”

Jean Francois Gaudreault-DesBiens and Charles-Maxime Panaccio, University of Toronto

Chaoulli and the Distinct Status of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms”
Allan Hutchinson, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Condition Critical: Health Care and Constitutional Rights

Bernard Dickens, University of Toronto

The Chaoulli Decision-Less than Meets the Eye or More?


10:15                     Break


10:30           Session Two: Considerations of Public/Private Financing in other Jurisdictions

Chair:  Carolyn Tuohy, University of Toronto


André den ExterUniversity of Erasmus, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

“Regulating Social Insurance and Private Insurance in Europe:  Challenge Posed by the EU”

Stefan Greb, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

“Private Health Insurance in Social Health Insurance Countries – Implications for Canada

Colleen M. Flood, University of Toronto

“Finding Health Policy ‘Arbitrary’: The Evidence on Waiting, Dying, and Public vs. Private Insurance”


12:00                     Lunch


12.45           Session Three: Collective Interests vs. Private Rights -- Panel Discussion

Chair:  Peter Russell, University of Toronto


Chris Manfredi, McGill University

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Chaoulli and the Limits of Judicial Policymaking

Lorraine Weinrib, University of Toronto

Charter Perspectives on Chaoulli -- the Body and the Body Politic

Lorne Sossin, University of Toronto

"Towards a Two-Tier Constitution: The Poverty of Health Rights"

Trudo Lemmens, University of Toronto

The Ethics of Private Insurance and Conflicts of Interest for Physicians: Reflections on Chaoulli”


2:00             Session Four: The Aftermath: Governmental Responses, Distributional Consequences, and the Future of Private Insurance (I)

Chair:  Antonia Maioni, McGill University


Greg Marchildon, University of Regina

Private Insurance for Medicare: Policy history and trajectory in the Four Western Provinces” – Paper summarized by Professor Maioni

Terry Sullivan, University of Toronto, President Cancer Care Ontario

A Just Measure of Patience: Managing Waiting Times for Cancer in Ontario

Charles Wright, Toronto

“Different Interpretations of ‘Evidence’ and Implications for the Canadian Healthcare System”

Tracey Epps and David Schneiderman, University of Toronto

“Chaoulli v. Quebec:  Opening Medicare to the World?”


3:15             Break


3:30             Session Five: The Aftermath: Governmental Responses, Distributional Consequences, and the Future of Private Insurance (II)

Chair:  Tony Clement, Bennett Jones LLP


Stanley Hartt

Arbitrariness, Randomness and the Principles of Fundamental Justice:  Wait Time Guarantees”

Claude Forget, Quebec

“Promises, Promises:  Establishing Boundaries between Public and Private Insurance”

Colleen Flood, University of Toronto and Caroline Pitfield, Justice,

“Possible Governmental Responses and the Establishment of Robust Appeal Mechanisms”

Andrew Petter. University of Victoria

"Wealthcare:  The Politics of Charter Revisited"



4.45             Final Remarks and Closure – Ian Shugart, Senior ADM Health Canada

-        Colleen Flood, Faculty of Law


Conference concludes: 5.15pm (approx)


A reception will follow the conference. We would like to thank Borden Ladner Gervais LLP for their assistance in hosting this function.



Some scholars will be making a contribution to the book arising from this conference, but are unable to speak at this event. They include:

Sujit Choudhry, University of Toronto

“Worse than Lochner”

Robert Evans, University of British Columbia

“The Economics of Private Insurance”

Peter H. Russell, University of Toronto

Chaoulli: The Political vs the Legal Life of a Judicial Decision

Hamish Stewart, University of Toronto