Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
History: 1939-1948 DEPRESSION DEVELOPMENTS, 19301939 NATIONAL SYSTEM, NATIONAL FAILURE? : WAR, RECONSTRUCTION AND HEALTH SECURITY FOR CANADIANS, 1939–1948 PUBLIC OR PRIVATE? VOLUNTARY OR COMPULSORY? : HOSPITAL CARE FOR CANADIANS, 1948–1958



Fixing Long-Standing Problems

Like the Canadian labour movement, however, the CFA had a more fundamental concern: that a national plan was essential to ensure that all Canadians had access to the same level of medical and hospital services. Through the National Farm Radio Forum discussions of 1941–1942, the lack of accessible health care in rural areas had become clear. In Quebec, for example, only 400 of the 3,000 doctors in that province practised in rural areas, yet 40 per cent of the population lived there. A similar situation existed in Ontario’s rural communities. The municipal doctor and union hospital plans in the Western provinces provided better coverage, but so many of their doctors and nurses were overseas with the armed forces that the Medical Procurement and Assignment Boardcreated zones and rationed doctors among them. The province of Manitoba had received an international grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to study the impact of municipal doctors on the health status of their patients between March 1938 and April 1940. The results of this study demonstrated conclusively that blending preventive and curative services through the work of the general practitioner improved the health of women and children in particular. Given the shortage of doctors, however, the CFA suggested serious consideration of the British approach: the use of well-trained midwives to deliver babies.

Photo: Health on the March
Health on the March

Cover of the 31-page pamphlet on national health insurance planning for Canada prepared by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Library and Archives Canada, MG28, I 103, Box 345, e008440967. © Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

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