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CMA Committee of Seven

With the failed B.C. health insurance plan and the well-known opposition of British and New Zealand doctors in mind, the Minister of Pensions and National Health and his Director of Public Health Services met with the Executive Council of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and arranged for the appointment of a seven-person advisory committee: CMA President Dr. Gordon Fahrni of Winnipeg; Dr. A. E. Archer of Lamont, Alberta, a long-time advocate of health insurance; Dr. T. H. Leggett of Ottawa; Dr. Wallace Wilson of Vancouver; Dr. Léon Gérin-Lajoie of Montréal; Dr. C. J. Veniot of Bathurst, New Brunswick; and Dr. T. C. Routley of Toronto, the Secretary of the CMA.

Photo: What’s Cookin’? A witch’s brew or a national tonic? — The nation’s health is the concern of all
What’s Cookin’? A witch’s brew or a national tonic? — The nation’s health is the concern of all

This drawing depicts the response — scepticism — of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Workers’ Educational Association to the draft health insurance legislation drawn up by the federal government and the Canadian Medical Association.
Library and Archives Canada, MG28, I 103, Box 345, e008440966. © Workers’ Educational Association of Canada.

Using the principles adopted by the CMA Committee on Economics in 1937, the committee members worked to ensure that the draft legislation reflected the profession’s desire for “adequate medical care rewarded by adequate medical compensation” (T. C. Routley, Letter to the Editor, CMAJ 46 [April 1942]: 391). After tabulating the views of its members, the committee argued for a majority of doctors on provincial health commissions to maintain high-quality care. This demand was sharply criticized by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Trades and Labour Congress.

Photo: The Medical Profession and Health Insurance
The Medical Profession and Health Insurance

The Canadian Medical Association’s submission to the House of Commons Special Committee on Social Security, 1943. The Association supported health insurance in principle but had reservations about how its implementation would affect doctors as individual practitioners.
© Canadian Medical Association

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