When the CBC organized a national contest to identify the greatest Canadian of all time, few were surprised when the father of Medicare, Tommy Douglas, won by a large margin: Medicare is central to Canadian identity. Yet focusing on Douglas and his fight for social justice obscures other important aspects of the construction of Canada's national health insurance - especially its longstanding dependence on immigrant doctors. Foreign Practices reconsiders the early history of Medicare through the stories of foreign-trained doctors who entered the country in the three decades after the Second World War. By making strategic use of oral history, analyzing contemporary medical debates, and reconstructing doctors' life histories, Sasha Mullally and David Wright demonstrate that foreign doctors arrived by the hundreds at a pivotal moment for health care services. Just as Medicare was launched, Canada began to prioritize "highly skilled manpower" when admitting newcomers, a novel policy that drew thousands of professionals from around the world. Doctors from India and Iran, Haiti and Hong Kong, and Romania and the Republic of South Africa would fundamentally transform the medical landscape of the country. Charting the fascinating history of physician immigration to Canada, and the ethical debates it provoked, Foreign Practices places the Canadian experience within a wider context of global migration after the Second World War.
"Foreign Practices makes a significant contribution to Canadian immigration history and to the history of medicine in Canada, advancing both fields in novel ways. By situating itself within the broader forces of globalization and the circulation of people and ideas in the second half of the twentieth century, this book will be part of a new wave of studies seeking to place Canadian history within a broader global context." Sean Mills, University of Toronto
About the Authors:
Sasha Mullally is professor of history and associate dean at the School of Graduate Studies at the University of New Brunswick.
David Wright is professor of history and Canada Research Chair in the History of Health Policy at McGill University.