Fonds F 0002 - Justice Emmett Hall Royal Commission fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Justice Emmett Hall Royal Commission fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record

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Fonds

Reference code

F 0002

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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Date(s)

  • 1961-1968 (Creation)

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Physical description

8.7 m textual records

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Name of creator

(1898-1995)

Biographical history

Emmett Matthew Hall (1898-1995) was the fourth of eleven children born to Irish-Catholic parents James Hall and Alice Shea. The Halls were originally from St. Colomban, Quebec, north of Montreal, but the family sought greater prosperity by moving to Saskatoon in 1910. Emmett Hall earned a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1919 (where future Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker was a classmate and friend), paying his way through by teaching French in local schools. He practised law in the province for the next 35 years, twice running unsuccessfully for elected office as a Conservative. In 1961 he became Chief Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal; the following year later he became a member of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Known as a hard-working and decisive judge, Hall participated in a number of landmark cases, including his influential minority judgement in the Nisga’a land claims case of 1973, which contributed to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s decision to open land claims negotiations with Indigenous peoples. Hall became one of Canada’s most influential justices of the twentieth century, actively shaping public policy through his roles on a variety of federal and provincial commissions and studies during his years on the bench and after his retirement. These included chairing the Royal Commission on Health Services (1961-1964) which led to the federal creation of Medicare, and a check-up Royal Commission in 1979 which led to the Canada Health Act of 1984. The so-called “Hall-Dennis Report” which came out of his co-chairing of the Provincial Committee on Aims and Objectives of Education in the Schools of Ontario (1965-1968) recommended sweeping pedagogical change, some of which was successfully implemented in the province. Hall was described by biographer Dennis Gruending as an “establishment radical” – a man who rose from modest means to become a privileged member of the Canadian elite but consistently advocated for social justice. This was especially true in the realm of health, where he believed that all Canadians should have their basic health needs met, regardless of ability to pay. Due to his role on these influential Royal Commissions, Hall often shares the title ‘Father of Medicare” with Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas.

Sources: “About Justice Emmett Hall,” The Justice Emmett Hall Memorial Foundation, http://www.hallfoundation.ca/justice-emmett-hall ; “Emmett Matthew Hall,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Matthew_Hall ; “Hall-Dennis Report,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hall-Dennis_Report (all accessed 20 March 2020); Biographical sketches to accompany finding aid produced by J.F. Leddy and Michael Power, 1988.

Scope and content

The fonds contains the working papers and internal history of two landmark governmental studies related to health and education policy in Canada. Series I contains records relating to the federal Royal Commission on Health Services (“Hall Commission,” 1961-64) and includes briefs, transcripts of hearings, and draft reports. Series II contains records relating to the Provincial Committee on the Aims and Objectives of Education in the Schools of Ontario (“Hall-Dennis Commission,” 1965-68) and includes briefs, reports, research material, newspaper clippings documenting commission publicity, drafts and final reports.

Physical condition

good

Arrangement

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

none

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright retained by creators. Copyright legislation and principles of fair dealing apply.

Finding aids

A PDF finding aid is available.

Associated materials

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan; Library & Archives Canada: a variety of fonds, files, and items (including interviews and photographs) connected with Justice Emmett Hall

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No further accruals are expected.

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