2013 Award Recipient The Honourable Roy Romanow

The Honourable Roy Romanow, Lawyer and former Premier of Saskatchewan

At its 15th Annual Roundtable Meeting held April 18, 2013 the HCCC was proud to present the inaugural Award of Distinction to The Honourable Roy Romanow. Mr. Romanow’s contributions to major reforms to health care and the Charlottetown Accord of 1992 were only two of many traits that made him an outstanding choice for HCCC's Award of Distinction.

A Saskatchewan lawyer, Roy Romanow was first elected to the Saskatchewan legislature in 1967. As attorney general and deputy premier of Saskatchewan, he introduced justice reforms including the provincial legal aid plan and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. As intergovernmental affairs minister he was heavily involved in the Constitutional Accord of 1981.

The Honourable Roy Romanow became Premier of Saskatchewan in 1991. During his time as premier, Mr. Romanow's government made major reforms to health care, including regionalization, and diversified the provincial economy. He was also an active participant in the constitutional negotiations leading up to the Charlottetown Accord of 1992. He remained premier until he retired from politics in February 2001. Soon after his retirement, he headed the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appointed the former Premier as a one-man Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, reporting directly to the Prime Minister. He started his work on May 1, 2001 and the final report of the Commission – Building on Values: The Future of Health Care in Canada- was tabled in November 2002.

Mr. Romanow made it clear that Medicare in Canada needed "remodeling but not demolishing." He asked Canadians to identify what they wanted and expected from the health care system, and what they and politicians had to do to meet those objectives.

Some of the topics he raised for public discussion were:

  • financing health care- how to raise revenues
  • timely access- what can be done about wait lists
  • services- who decides what services are covered
  • home care- is a national strategy needed and affordable?
  • pharmacare- is a national strategy needed and affordable?
  • medical and health care professionals- how to increase the capacity
  • consumer choice- is there room in a publicly funded system?
  • aboriginal peoples health- how it can be improved

Mr. Romanow is the recipient of numerous awards:

  • February 3, 2003, Roy Romanow, Health Commissioner and former Premier of Saskatchewan, received theAtkinson Foundation's Economic Justice Awardfor his work on Health Care.
  • Received the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewanfrom Lieutenant Governor Lynda Haverstock.
  • Received the 2003 Pan-American Health Organization Award forexcellence and leadership in the area of health administration and management. The award particularly recognized Mr. Romanow’s work in the creation of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and in leading the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada.
  • That same year (2003) he was sworn in as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada by Governor General Clarkson, and he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit

In 2011, Mr. Romanow officially launched the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) Network at University of Waterloo. He also presented a new CIW report on Canada’s environmental path and its effect on long-term quality of life.
Mr. Romanow was appointed as a senior fellow in public policy in the University of Saskatchewan Political Studies Department, where he is still today.

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