2017 INDUCTEE Justice Emmett Hall Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy, Health Policy


November 29, 1898

(Saint Colomban, Québec)


November 12, 1995


LLB, University of Saskatchewan (1919)

Awards & Honours:

1974: Companion of the Order of Canada

Picture of Justice Emmett Hall

Championed government investment in a national health insurance plan

Justice Emmett Hall

An advocate for equal access health services for all Canadians

When the Canadian government saw the success of the Saskatchewan hospital insurance plan in 1947, leaders turned to Justice Emmett Hall to chair a royal commission on the feasibility of expanding such a plan to a national scale. The Royal Commission on Health Services, known as the Hall Commission, interviewed hundreds of Canadians across the country and highlighted the various health concerns of the average citizen. In large part due to the Hall Commission’s clear endorsement of the Saskatchewan model, the National Medical Care Insurance Act was passed on December 8, 1966 by an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons.

Key Facts

His early experience with patterns of economic depression and drought in Saskatchewan likely shaped his view of the importance of helping fellow citizens

Served as the Chief Justice of Saskatchewan before his appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1962

The National Medical Care Insurance Act passed in the House of Commons with a vote of 177 to 2

Remained an advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities to the end of his life

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Before the introduction of the National Medical Care Insurance Act, health care costs could cripple Canadians families. As a result of Justice Hall’s passionate support for a single-tier national health care insurance plan, Canadians experience a level of health care access that ensures the well-being of millions of Canadians. Justice Hall understood that an investment in Canadian’s health was an investment in the betterment of Canadian society.

Picture of Justice Emmett Hall


  • Emmett Hall portrait with 2017 Inductees

    Emmett Hall inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Quebec City, Quebec

  • Canada Health Act

    Health Policy

    Justice Hall remained at the forefront of health policy development when he chaired a review of Medicare’s implementation. His revisions led to the Canada Health Act in 1984, which included the accessibility principle for government funding.

  • Medicare

    Health Policy

    The National Medical Care Insurance Act came into effect on July 1st. Today, it is more commonly referred to as medicare.

  • Doctors strike in Saskatchewan 1962

    Fierce Opposition

    Justice Hall’s advocacy for a government-funded health insurance plan took place amidst fierce opposition. In July, the doctors of Saskatchewan went on strike for 23 days.

  • Exploring National Health Insurance

    Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy, Health Policy

    The Diefenbaker government appointed Justice Hall to chair the Royal Commission on Health Services. Its final report was tabled in 1964.

  • Saskatchewan takes the lead

    Saskatchewan introduced Canada’s first provincial government-funded hospital insurance plan.


The only thing more expensive than good health care is no health care.