Born in Orillia, Ontario, Leslie Miscampbell Frost (1895–1973) was a lawyer and politician who served as Premier of Ontario from 1949 to 1961. After recovering from a serious wound received as a soldier in France during the First World War, Frost graduated from Osgoode Hall in 1921, set up a law practice with his brother in Lindsay, Ontario and became an active member of the Conservative Party. Frost was elected to the Ontario legislature in 1937 and entered the provincial Cabinet as Treasurer and Minister of Mines in 1943.
In 1949, he assumed leadership of the provincial Conservative Party and became Premier. Frost’s support for health insurance grew from his belief that a healthy and happy people should be a government priority. Frost declared that “health insurance for the people of Ontario is inevitable,” and “the question is not one of whether health insurance will come—come it must and will” (Malcolm G. Taylor, Health Insurance and Canadian Public Policy: The Seven Decisions That Created the Canadian Health Insurance System and Their Outcomes, 2nd ed. [Montréal and Kingston: McGill–Queen’s University Press, 1987], p. 123). Frost’s support for health insurance was crucial in keeping the issue on the agenda for the 1955 federal–provincial conference. Although Frost did not receive the support he sought from the federal government, he continued to work for improved health care access for Ontarians through the1956 Hospital Services Commission of Ontario Act. The careful work of the commission resulted in a smooth introduction and successful administration of the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan when it started in January 1959. This laid the foundation for funding the next stage on the road to medicare: medical services insurance.