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Corporate Health Care

Ontario and Nova Scotia also provided examples of company-sponsored health care plans. Hollinger Gold Mines in Timmins displayed enlightened self-interest by funding health insurance for its miners and their families because gold was one of the few commodities that commanded a strong market share during the 1930s. In the Nova Scotia coal industry, a “check-off” system had been in place since the 1880s. Mandatory deductions from wages ensured that miners and their families would receive basic medical and hospital assistance even during economic downturns. In Windsor, Ontario, local doctors won Rockefeller Foundation funding to create the Windsor Medical Services Plan, which combined preventive and curative services for automotive workers. This was a pilot project to see if full-spectrum care was more efficient and economical than separate hospital and medical services plans.

“I’m a retired Cape Breton coal miner. I went to work in the coal mines after I returned from overseas military service ... During my mine employment we, and my father before me, had a system of Medicare long before Tommy Douglas even thought of it. Every week we had a deduction from our pay. In my time it was twenty cents for the doctor, and twenty-five cents for the hospital. They called it “check-off”. This allowed us and our families to receive free medical care from our doctors and the hospitals.”

 —Tony Toicuk, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, in Life Before Medicare: Canadian Experiences (Toronto: Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations, 1995), p. 33.

Photo:  Identification Card and  Instructions
Photo:  Identification Card and  Instructions

According to Windsor Medical Services, “freedom from charity” was among the benefits of its health insurance plan, which cost “considerably less than the average family spends for cigarettes and cosmetics”.
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Associated Medical Services Inc. Fonds 152, Box 48, File 436, 1937-39

Windsor Medical Services Inc.
Identification Card and Instructions
It is necessary to show this card to your doctor to obtain medical services.
Text does not appear in illustrations shown here:
Everyone needs medical service each year.
Illness of any magnitude, operations, accidents, etc. are to many, financial catastrophes.
Can you afford to take a chance?
Prepayment — medical service solves this difficulty

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