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



British Columbia’s Bold Actions

In the meantime, Dr. Fleming was working with Dr. George Weir, British Columbia’s Provincial Secretary, and his staff to prepare health insurance legislation. This law was passed in April 1936, but aroused considerable opposition from both the medical profession and the insurance industry. British Columbia doctors objected because it did not provide full coverage of the population, excluded the indigent, the unemployed and the elderly poor, and was to be administered by a commission that included lay people and bureaucrats as well as doctors. They were also upset by the low fees and the emphasis on capitation (a set per-person fee) rather than fee-for-service payment. The insurance companies opposed the measure because it threatened their business. These objections sank the proposal when the Liberal Premier, T. Dufferin Pattullo, failed to get additional funding from William Lyon Mackenzie King, who had been re-elected Prime Minister in 1935. Pattullo’s legislation, like that of his Alberta counterpart, never went into effect.

Photo:  British Columbia’s premier, Dufferin Pattullo, meeting with  the Vancouver City Council during the occupation of the post office in 1938

British Columbia’s premier, Dufferin Pattullo, meeting with the Vancouver City Council during the occupation of the post office in 1938. Pattullo had other problems besides his inability to get his health insurance legislation passed.
British Columbia Archives, C-07967

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