Celebrating 40 years of protecting and expanding public health care

The Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. We have continuously been working to protect, defend and expand public health care in Canada. The CHC will be holding a Fundraising Gala at the National Arts Centre on April 2 to celebrate its accomplishments.

When the CHC was formed in 1979, user fees and extra billing were chipping away at Canada’s public health care system. This motivated unions, health care workers, churches and concerned individuals to come together at the SOS Medicare conference. The CHC emerged from this historic conference, which was attended by two of the fathers of Medicare in Canada: Tommy Douglas and Justice Emmett Hall.

“Until that time, organizations across the country had been lobbying individually for the adoption of a national, comprehensive health care program for all Canadians,” said Pauline Worsfold, RN, Chair of the CHC. “With the creation of the CHC, these groups have been able to advocate with a unified voice. We’ve been at the national level, alongside provincial and territorial health coalitions, to ensure that everyone in Canada has access to the best possible health care.”

The CHC’s first big victory was the adoption of the Canada Health Act in 1984. This law banned extra billing and placed conditions on the provinces and territories to access health care funding. The CHC has worked to ensure this law is enforced across the country. We’ve also been working to expand our public health care system to include things like pharmacare and seniors care.

“Access to health care should be based on need, not on the ability to pay,” said Melanie Benard, the CHC’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy. “The CHC makes sure that this principle is respected and that the federal government takes a leadership role in ensuring access to public health care. We look forward to continuing Tommy Douglas’ legacy and vision for public health care in Canada.”


For more information:

Contact Melanie Benard
National Director, Policy and Advocacy

About the Canadian Health Coalition
For forty years, the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) has been working to protect and improve public health care in Canada. We are a coalition of health care workers, unions, seniors, community organizations, faith-based organizations and academics, as well as affiliated coalitions in the provinces and one territory.


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Canadian Health Coalition