Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
History: 1968-1978 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968 FROM COST CONTROL TO HEALTH PROMOTION: IMPLEMENTING MEDICARE, 19681978 SAVING THE SYSTEM: THE CANADA HEALTH ACT, THE OTTAWA CHARTER AND ACHIEVING HEALTH FOR ALL, 19781988



From Cure to Prevention: Reorienting Canadian Health Care

In 1974, Lalonde had presented A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians to the public and the House of Commons. This Green Paper was intended to open discussion about the approach of Canadians to health. Using historical data to demonstrate how infectious diseases were no longer the main cause of preventable deaths, the document outlined the health field concept, a four-part analytical tool that pointed out that the environment, human biology and lifestyle were often as important in determining the health of Canadians as the health care system. This holistic approach challenged the traditional assumption that future improvements in health and longevity would result from further funding for improved technology, more medical personnel and more hospitals. Instead, A New Perspective argued that citizens and governments had to pay greater attention to health promotion, regulating air, water and soil pollution, dealing with poverty and lack of access to services for the mentally ill, Aboriginal peoples and rural Canadians, and making sure that the health care system functioned efficiently and effectively.

Photo: It just isn’t a good time, Marc, to tell the voters they’re out of shape, drink and eat too much and fit for an early grave!
It just isn’t a good time, Marc, to tell the voters they’re out of shape, drink and eat too much and fit for an early grave!

Marc Lalonde’s green paper, A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians, presented in May 1974, inspired Andy Donato’s cartoon of the Liberal Cabinet members.
Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1993-169-348, e008315955. © Andy Donato.



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