Buchan, J. (2021). Follow the money: Ontario’s provincial departmental funding from 1950-1959 and its relation to the polio epidemic. The Young Researcher, 5(1), 66-81.
What can we learn from past epidemics? Beyond consolidating medical history, investigating past public health crises can reveal institutional successes; scholarly inquiry can unearth the sources of these triumphs, providing guidance for current and future hardship. The academic community is well-versed in the polio epidemic in Canada, but research gaps still remain; this ex post facto analysis examines Ontario’s provincial department budgeting from 1950 to 1959, illustrating fiscal priorities and governmental reactions to the polio epidemic. Three main factors — relative financial constancy, a lack of inflated funding for the Department of Health, and major investment in non-polio related sectors — signal Ontario’s financial success during the epidemic. This budgetary victory coincides with the final downturn of Ontario polio cases, suggesting that a provincial government with preexisting and robust medical infrastructure can weather an epidemic without creating severe financial fallout.
Keywords: Polio epidemic, epidemic comparison, Ontario finance, provincial budget analysis, financial analysis