Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
History: 1930-1939 ORIGINS, 19141929 DEPRESSION DEVELOPMENTS, 19301939 NATIONAL SYSTEM, NATIONAL FAILURE? : WAR, RECONSTRUCTION AND HEALTH SECURITY FOR CANADIANS, 1939–1948



The Provinces Respond

In 1929, British Columbia had appointed its second Royal Commission to examine health insurance, and its 1932 report repeated the recommendation for a contributory plan that would be compulsory for low-income earners, either married or single. In Alberta, the United Farmers of Alberta government appointed an all-party inquiry into state health insurance in 1928, and it reported in 1929 that the European models it had studied were effective. From 1932 to 1934, the Minister of Health, George Hoadley, chaired an all-party committee that developed a two-pronged plan for a provincial health insurance program. In rural areas, the existing municipal hospital district was the basis for coverage, while in the urban areas employees and employers would pay seven-ninths of the costs. In both plans, the government would fund two-ninths of the costs of comprehensive hospital and medical services, as well as less expensive dental, drug and necessary hospital nursing charges. Although the Alberta Health Insurance Act was passed in March 1935, it was never implemented because the United Farmers of Alberta government was defeated by the Social Credit Party in August. As a result, small local prepaid plans, such as those developed by the Mormons in Cardston and the citizens of Lamont, were the way that Albertans coped with the lack of money available to pay for health care and the loss of their health care providers.

Photo: George Hoadley and the Prince of Wales

George Hoadley and the Prince of Wales at the Prince’s ranch in Alberta, 1924. Hoadley later became Minister of Health.
Glenbow Archives, NA-1074-2

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010