Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
History: 1958-1968 PUBLIC OR PRIVATE? VOLUNTARY OR COMPULSORY? : HOSPITAL CARE FOR CANADIANS, 19481958 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968 FROM COST CONTROL TO HEALTH PROMOTION: IMPLEMENTING MEDICARE, 19681978



Canada’s First Health Charter

The Hall Commission also recognized “the responsibility of the individual to observe good health practices and use available health services prudently” and “the responsibility of the individual to allocate a reasonable share of his income (by way of taxes or premiums or both) for health purposes,” thus neatly responding to critics who objected to government funding on the grounds that it would sap personal initiative and lead to over-servicing. The commission also called for expansion of health facilities and training and for federal funding of health research. And it pointed out that health services “must be supplemented by a wide range of other measures concerned with such matters as housing, nutrition, cigarette smoking, water and air pollution, motor vehicle and other accidents, alcoholism, and drug addiction.” Clearly, the commission was taking a holistic view of health care activities and the duties of citizens and their governments. In making these recommendations, the Royal Commission on Health Services was handing Lester Pearson’s minority government a blueprint for action. Did the Liberals have the popular support and political will to make this 1963 election promise a reality?

Photo: The Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson in his office

The Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson in his office soon after his minority Liberal government came to power in April 1963. One of his election campaign promises was that he would introduce health services legislation.
© Library and Archives Canada, PA-057934. Photographer: Duncan Cameron.



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