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Geography: 1914-1929 Geography: 1914-1929 Geography: 1930-1939

British Columbia Royal Commissions

British Columbia had two Royal Commissions on health insurance: one in 1919 and one in 1929. In November 1919, the provincial Liberal government of John Oliver appointed a Royal Commission to study compulsory health insurance, as well as other social welfare measures. After hearing briefs from medical associations, doctors and other parties, the commission recommended a compulsory contributory system of health insurance that would cover medical, surgical, dental and hospital treatment, as well as necessary drugs, lost wages due to illness and funeral expenses, to be funded 40 per cent by employers, 40 per cent by employees and 20 per cent by the province. However, the commission’s recommendations had to wait until provincial authority to legislate health insurance was established. By 1928, this authority was clear, and Conservative Premier S. F. Tolmie appointed a new Royal Commission in 1929. This commission’s recommendations were similar to those of the 1919 commission: both commissions recommended the adoption of a compulsory health insurance program for all wage earners under 65 below a certain income level. Although political problems prevented the recommendations of the 1929 commission from being implemented, both commissions established the importance of health insurance to British Columbians and identified some of the problems associated with implementing it.

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