03 Jul 50 Years of Medicare in Saskatchewan

By Ian Johnson, Vice Chair, Nova Scotia Health Coalition

July 1 this year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare in Canada. It was on July 1, 1962 that insured medical services started in Saskatchewan.

This did not happen overnight. A number of important preparatory steps were taken over almost 20 years. This included setting up insured hospital services in 1947.

Nor did it happen without major struggle. There was a bitter provincial election campaign in 1960. And when Medicare began, so also did a three-week doctors’ strike. And throughout that period, there was strong opposition by the established medical profession, the insurance industry, and the provincial Liberal Party of that time.

But once the strike was settled, it quickly became the focus for a possible move to the rest of the country, thanks especially to the Hall Commission Report of 1964 and the efforts of all parties to approve federal legislation in 1966.

We should remember and thank the tireless efforts of the CCF/NDP government of 50 years ago and the people of Saskatchewan to help put in place our most prized social program.