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History: 19781988 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 THE ENDLESS CHALLENGE: BALANCING CHANGE AND CONTINUITY, 19892007



The Medical Profession’s Response

To back up their opposition, doctors across Canada began to opt out of their provincial plans. In Ontario, approximately 20 per cent of doctors had left the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) by 1982, and in Peterborough, for example, 100 per cent of the doctors had opted out. Doctors in Alberta were particularly militant and, by 1982, 44 per cent had opted out and many were also extra-billing patients, including the elderly and those on social assistance. Conflict between the medical profession and provincial governments led to job action. On May 13, 1981, all but three of the 100 doctors in Kamloops, British Columbia stopped work. In April and May 1982, doctors in Ontario and Quebec started rotating strikes, and those in Quebec were legislated back to work by the Parti Québécois government.

Photo:  Alberta Doctors Plan 24 hr. Strike ... Back in 24 hrs.
Alberta Doctors Plan 24 hr. Strike ... Back in 24 hrs.

Tom Innes captured the patient’s mood as he contemplated a visit to the doctor in 1981, when doctors were striking throughout Alberta over the federal government’s efforts to end extra billing. Similar strikes occurred in Ontario and Quebec.
Glenbow Archives, M-8000-940



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