About the author: Rev. Michael McGowan obtained his PhD in Canon Law from the University of Ottawa. He is the author of the recent publications: Governance/Sponsorship Models of Canadian Health Care Organization and The Mission to Care for the Sick: the Development of Catholic Health Care Facilities and Their Evolution in New Brunswick. At the present time he serves as ecclesiastical judge of the Halifax Regional Tribunal, canonical advisor to the Bishop of Saint John and canonical consultator to the New Brunswick Catholic Health Association. In addition, he teaches at St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB.2000 0-7734-7683-0
In March, 1992, the provincial health minister announced an overhaul of the health care system in New Brunswick. This legislation threatened the Church’s integral mission of providing health care in the province. The Hospital Act of 1992 terminated the collaboration, cooperation and partnership between Government and Church. The take-over of the Catholic hospitals, the dissolution of the individual hospital boards, the establishment of seven regional hospital corporations, challenged and even denied the Church’s right to be involved in the health care delivery system. After nearly a year of negotiations, an agreement was reached whereby Catholic hospital facilities would continue to be owned by the religious institutes. While administration and control of these facilities would come under the authority of a regional hospital corporation, provisions were introduced to safeguard Catholic mission, values, philosophy and ethics in these hospitals.