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



Whither Medicare?

In April 2001, the Chrétien government appointed former Premier of Saskatchewan Roy Romanow to head a one-person Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, and his report, presented in November 2002, identified both the values that Canadians viewed as the foundation of their health care system and the changes needed to sustain it for the future. (See Health Canada - Health Care System.) Foremost among his conclusions was that Canadians strongly supported the principles and values on which medicare had been founded and that they wanted these to remain as its foundation. They were willing to support changes to primary health care such as rostering, looked forward to electronic health records and were committed to taking individual and collective responsibility for their personal health and that of their families and communities. To ensure that medicare remained sustainable, the commission recommended an end to federal–provincial bickering; more funding for specific objectives such as health care for Aboriginal peoples and those in rural and remote areas; a national health council that would present regular reports on the state of Canadians’ health and the progress of reform; an update and clarification of the Canada Health Act by incorporating a sixth principle — accountability; creation of a national home care program that would serve the mentally ill, post-acute and palliative patients; the positioning of prevention and primary care, including immunization, at the forefront of the Canadian health system; and the creation of a national drug formulary to deal with rising drug costs and the provision of a catastrophic drug plan to assist Canadians needing expensive drugs. Response to the report was split between those who said it did not go far enough and those who thought it was a betrayal of Tommy Douglas’s vision.

Photo: Roy Romanow, former premier of Saskatchewan, poses with copies of his commission’s report, released in November 2002.

Roy Romanow, former premier of Saskatchewan, poses with copies of his commission’s report, released in November 2002.
The Canadian Press



Back to Timeline 1989 - 2007
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010