A flag celebrating 50 years of Medicare in Saskatchewan was raised at Yorkton City Hall on Wednesday, July 18. The City of Yorkton, along with many other municipalities in Saskatchewan, has declared July as Medicare month. The flag features photos of people, including Tommy Douglas, NDP leader and one of the founders of Medicare. The flag will fly for the entire month of July.
“Medicare is so important to all Canadian families,” says Yorkton and District Labour Council President Maryann Federko. “It’s great that communities across our province are celebrating Medicare.”
Medicare was initiated in Saskatchewan on July 1, 1962. Within a decade, Medicare was adopted throughout Canada as a public and universal system that Canadians now consider a right.
“We can all be proud of Saskatchewan’s leading role in achieving universal health care,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. “Medicare has become a defining feature of what makes us Canadians. Let’s celebrate our past as we work to improve Medicare and ensure it’s here for future generations.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is a member of the Saskatchewan Health Coalition. The Saskatchewan Health Coalition contacted the provincial government and municipalities asking them to proclaim July as Medicare month (Certificate of Recognition attached). They have also sponsored billboards at entry points into Saskatchewan, welcoming people to “the birthplace of Medicare”, and have produced flags and banners celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Medicare. The Coalition also co-sponsored a 50th anniversary conference with CCPA Saskatchewan, the College of Medicare on the Future of Medicare, and the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, U of S College of Medicine.
The Saskatchewan Health Coalition was established in 1981. Their membership is comprised of individuals and organizations representing nurses, health care workers, seniors, churches, anti poverty groups, women, students and trade unions dedicated to the preservation and improvement of Medicare.