Born in Toronto, Dr. A. Grant Fleming (1887–1943) was celebrated for his skills as a doctor, professor and administrator. As a doctor, Fleming served with the army and was decorated for gallantry in the First World War. As an administrator, Fleming was the medical director of organizations such as the Montréal Anti-Tuberculosis League and the Canadian National Committee for Mental Hygiene, was the associate secretary of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) from 1928 to 1936, and served on many committees of the Canadian as well as the American Public Health Association. As a professor and administrator at McGill University, he was Director of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine from 1928 to 1940, as well as Dean of the Faculty from 1936 to 1940.
In 1928, Fleming had appeared before the Commons Committee on Industrial and International Relations to persuade it to set up a national survey of health personnel and facilities. Although this did not materialize, he worked to gather information for the CMA Committee on Economics and then assisted George Hoadley with the 1939 survey report. All of this expertise made him a valued advisor to the CMA Committee of Seven, which worked with the federal Advisory Committee on Health Insurance (the Heagerty Committee) to create the 1943 federal health insurance proposals. Fleming’s sudden death in April 1943 not only ended his presidency of the Canadian Public Health Association but also left the health insurance proposals without an important and articulate champion.