Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
History: 1948-1958 NATIONAL SYSTEM, NATIONAL FAILURE? : WAR, RECONSTRUCTION AND HEALTH SECURITY FOR CANADIANS, 1939–1948 PUBLIC OR PRIVATE? VOLUNTARY OR COMPULSORY? : HOSPITAL CARE FOR CANADIANS, 19481958 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968



Alternate Models: Alberta, British Columbia and Newfoundland

In Alberta, Ernest Manning’s Social Credit government rejected the CCF’suniversal, provincially funded approach. Instead, his government established a means-tested provincial government aid program that subsidized municipally administered hospital care plans. By 1954, these plans were covering 650,000 Albertans, and 118,000 citizens had also purchased hospital coverage through Alberta Blue Cross. As well, 86,000 bought medical services insurance from the Alberta Medical Association’s prepaid plan — Medical Services Inc., Alberta — that year. In addition, the Alberta Medical Association provided doctors’ services, hospital care and drug benefits to 32,595 welfare recipients on behalf of the Alberta government. This mix of public and private plans and programs was typical of several Canadian provinces and reflected the way in which cautious politicians interpreted their role in the development of social security programs. Unlike Saskatchewan, with its universal, comprehensive coverage, Alberta’s government was only prepared to subsidize the indigent.

Photo: Ernest Manning, in 1943

Ernest Manning, a former radio evangelist, is shown here in 1943 when, as leader of the Social Credit Party, he began his 25-year term as premier of Alberta.
Glenbow Archives, NA-2922-14

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