Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
Costs & Benefits: 1978-1988 Costs & Benefits: 1968-1978 Costs & Benefits: 1978-1988 Costs & Benefits: 1989–2007



Canada’s National–Provincial Health Program for the 1980’s

Canada’s National–Provincial Health Program for the 1980’s, the report of the second Hall Commission, was intended to respond to rising public concern that federal and provincial cost control measures during the late 1970s had eroded the core principles of medicare. In the report, Mr. Justice Emmett Hall urged provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario to consider eliminating their health insurance premiums once the economy improved to ensure unimpeded access to necessary care. He stated that, “if extra-billing is permitted as a right and practiced by physicians in their sole discretion, it will, over the years, destroy the program” (Malcolm G. Taylor, Health Insurance and Canadian Public Policy: The Seven Decisions That Created the Canadian Health Insurance System and Their Outcomes [Montréal and Kingston: McGill–Queen’s University Press, 1987], p. 429).

Photo: Doktor of Preventive Medicine
Doktor of Preventive Medicine

In 1983, Josh Beutel clarified the results of the financial conflict between the federal government and the provinces for his New Brunswick readers.
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, MC2806, Josh Beutel Fonds: Series C-1367

The report also noted the importance of shifting attention to health promotion, controlling the number of doctors, permitting nurses and other health professionals to increase the scope of their practice, and responding to the health needs of Aboriginal people and other marginalized groups. The report’s call for binding arbitration to settle billing disputes upset medical associations and provincial politicians, and both groups were hostile to its recommendations. Nevertheless, the report provided the foundation for the Canada Health Act of 1984.

Photo: Ottawa promised to provide full medical care under treaties that remain in effect “as long as the sun shines and the rivers flow”
Ottawa promised to provide full medical care under treaties that remain in effect “as long as the sun shines and the rivers flow”

Tom Innes highlights the lack of health services for First Nations. In 1974 the Department of National Health and Welfare tabled a policy stating that it had no statutory or treaty obligations to provide health services to First Nations.
Glenbow Archives, M-8000-361a




Back to Timeline 1914 - 2007
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010