Public Health Care in Canada

The Ecumenical Health Care Network

The Ecumenical Health Care Network contributes an ethical voice to the ongoing dialogue and debate about the future of health care in Canada. From 2001 to 2006 the network engaged the churches in ongoing support for the common good through education and advocacy—within the churches, in the broader community, and by engagement with government as appropriate. It is currently suspended though many of the resources remain relevant. In 2014 some key resources were republished and are available here:

Why Christians Should Stay Involved in Canada’s Health Care Debate

A theological reflection written by former General Secretary Janet Somerville.

Charter and Covenant: The Churches and the Struggle for Public Health Care in Canada

“Churches have been involved in the provision of health care services in Canada since the mid 17th century….Many other religious groups comprised especially of religious women and Christian laypersons have been in the forefront of every effort against disease that this country has known. What explains such active involvement in health care?”

A Health Care Covenant for All People in Canada

People in Canada understand that how we care for others defines the nature of who we are as a national community. We also know that what we owe each other is essential for who we are as a people. Thus, we have empowered our governments to steward public resources and develop and administer social policy for the common good of all.

As members of a national community, we in Canada understand that a community actively promotes and nurtures health through compassion, mutuality, care, trust, respect, security and active attention to what justice requires of us. Thus, in fulfillment of our mutual responsibilities, we and our governments solemnly promise to actively pursue and safeguard a holistic and integrated vision of health care for all people in Canada.

Churches in Canada have had a significant role in the development of public health care in Canada. In acknowledgement of their role the Ecumenical Health Care Network published a resource entitled A Healthcare Covenant. The book includes a forward by Dr. Nuala Kenny—a well known healthcare ethicist—and an afterword by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Bellous of the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec. It also includes an appendix of church actions in support of healthcare since 1950.

To order your copy of the book email Cost: $10/book (includes shipping costs).

Letter to the Minister of Health on the Canada Health Accord (2014)

“I am writing to ask about the future of public health care in Canada now that Canada’s Health Accord has not been renewed.” View letter

Letter to the US Churches on Health Care (2009)

“Aware of the current passionate debates concerning health care reform in the U.S.A., I write to you today to share some of our experiences and reflections in similar debates that have taken place, and continue to take place, in Canada.” View letter


The Ecumenical Health Care Network is currently suspended.

Please contact Peter Noteboom, Associate Secretary, Justice and Peace for developments:.

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