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, 1948–1958 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968



Quebec: Pas une province comme les autres?

In the province of Quebec, the French–English split was reflected in the response to efforts to organize hospital and medical services plans for each linguistic group. Quebec Blue Cross had been created in 1942 as the Quebec Hospital Service Association and, by 1948, it was not only providing supplemental medical services coverage but had also expanded to include Catholic francophone hospitals. When the Trans-Canada Medical Plans organization was being developed, anglophone doctors did not appear to be interested in creating and directing a provincial plan, while L’Association des Médecins de Langue Française was unable to clarify its position vis-à-vis Les Services de Santé, a provincial plan serving French-speaking citizens. As a result, the Quebec Hospital Service Association became the province’s representative in the Trans-Canada Medical Plans and, by 1970, it had more than 1 million subscribers in the province. For Quebec’s Premier, Maurice Duplessis, such plans provided a counterweight to the pressure that he was receiving from the federal government and other provincial leaders to support a national program. A convinced provincial rights advocate, Duplessis argued that federal involvement in an area of exclusive provincial jurisdiction such as health was “an unsound principle,” and his successors of all political stripes have maintained this view, arguing that national standards do not always meet local needs.

Photo: Maurice Duplessis, premier of Quebec, lays the cornerstone of the new Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montréal, 1951

Quebec was also actively expanding its hospitals. Maurice Duplessis, premier of Quebec, lays the cornerstone of the new Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montréal, 1951.
University of Sherbrooke

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: June 14, 2011