Royal Commission on Health Services, 1961 to 1964

The Royal Commission on Health Services, also known as the Hall Commission, was established by Order in Council on June 20, 1961, under Part I of the Inquiries Act. Its purpose was to:

... inquire into and report upon the existing facilities and the future need for health services for the people of Canada and the resources to provide such services, and to recommend such measures, consistent with the constitutional division of legislative powers in Canada, as the Commissioners believe will ensure that the best possible health care is available to all Canadians ...

Twelve issues were identified, including:

  • Financing methods;
  • Present and future requirements for health services personnel and their training;
  • Present and projected costs of health care services in Canada; and,
  • Methods of improving health care services.

Seven commissioners were appointed, including the chair, Mr. Justice Emmett M. Hall and Ms. Alice Girard, RN, Dr. David M. Baltzan, Professor O.J. Firestone, Dr. C.L. Strachan, Dr. Arthur F. Van Wart, and Mr. M. Wallace McCutcheon (who left in 1962 when he was appointed to the Senate). The Commission held 67 days of public hearings in all provinces and in Yukon, visited and studied health care systems in several other countries, received submissions, heard individuals and delegates from 406 organizations, and commissioned 26 research studies.

The Commission recommended a national health policy and a comprehensive health care program for three main areas:

  • Health services;
  • Health personnel, facilities and research; and
  • Financing and priorities.


Two final reports were issued, the Royal Commission on Health Services: 1964: Volume I, tabled in the House of Commons on June 19, 1964, and the Royal Commission on Health Services: 1965: Volume II, issued on December 7, 1964.

The Hall Commission reports are only available in print form at some public libraries, depository libraries throughout Canada, and some university libraries.

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