Matthew Anderson

Introduced the idea of Medicare

Born: 1882 in Norway
Died: 1974 in Bulyea, Saskatchewan

Matthew S. Anderson was the reeve of McKillop, Saskatchewan when, in 1938, he submitted a plebiscite to local voters, outlining his plan for medical services. This plan called for unlimited access to a municipal doctor, twenty-one days of hospital care, and prescription drugs for an annual fee of five dollars per person. The plebiscite was approved and, since municipalities didn't have the authority to collect such a fee, Anderson worked with the provincial government to have that changed.

In March of 1939, the Saskatchewan legislature passed a bill called ‘An Act Respecting Medical and Hospital Services for Municipalities’. Often referred to as the ‘Matt Anderson Bill’, it allowed municipalities to collect taxes for health services. Tommy Douglas introduced the concept on a province-wide basis in 1947.

Additional trivia:

There is a cairn dedicated to Anderson at Bulyea.

More information on:

Canada Health Act

Sources include:

Kearney, Mark, and Randy Ray. The Great Canadian Trivia Book. Toronto: Hounslow Press, 1996.


By Name · A
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Added 14 April 2002.