Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
History: 19892007 SAVING THE SYSTEM: THE CANADA HEALTH ACT, THE OTTAWA CHARTER AND ACHIEVING HEALTH FOR ALL, 19781988 THE ENDLESS CHALLENGE: BALANCING CHANGE AND CONTINUITY, 19892007



Health Care Activism

In response to the situation, organized medicine and a number of voluntary associations banded together to form the Health Action Lobby (HEAL). This group reflected the growing concern of providers and consumers who feared that the ongoing conflict between the federal and provincial governments would undermine the health care system. In 1991, HEAL presented a background paper on federal support for health care that summarized the history of the move from 50/50 funding to the EPF block grant, and then assessed the consequences of the Canada Health Act and Minister of Finance Michael Wilson’s freeze on health spending. For the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Hospital Association, the Canadian Long Term Care Association, the Canadian Psychological Association and the Consumers’ Association of Canada, the prospect of the $3.3 billion shortfall in health care funds in 1991 growing to $6.6 billion in 1995–1996 prompted formidable efforts to generate public support. The press was enlisted to tell stories about wait times, staff shortages, professional burnout, and lack of equipment and facilities. But such pressure did little to alter federal policy or to persuade the provinces to spend more on health services. Indeed, growing concern about the economic recession, rising unemployment, the loss of jobs associated with the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement and the potential outcome of negotiations for the next round of tax rental agreements left governments unwilling to allocate funds to curative activities. A difficult situation had to be faced.



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