Series S 45 - Saskatchewan Hospital (North Battleford) Patient Registers series

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Title proper

Saskatchewan Hospital (North Battleford) Patient Registers series

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  • Microform
  • Textual record

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S 45

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1914-1971 (Creation)
    Saskatchewan. Department of Public Works
  • 1914-1971 (Creation)
    Saskatchewan. Department of Public Health
  • 1914-1971 (Creation)
    Saskatchewan. Office of the Commissioner of Mental Services
  • 1914-1971 (Creation)
    Saskatchewan. Division of Mental Services
  • 1914-1971 (Creation)
    Saskatchewan. Dept. of Public Health. Psychiatric Services Branch

Physical description area

Physical description

6 microfilm reels (161.0 m)
1.920m of textual records

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Biographical history

The Department of Public Works was one of the original departments created upon the formation of the Executive Council of the North-West Territories in 1897. The department, with headquarters in Regina, was headed by a commissioner and deputy commissioner.

Upon the formation of the province of Saskatchewan in 1905, the provincial department's mandate included the inspection and regulation of coal mines and steam boilers; surveying; the construction and maintenance of bridges; the operation and maintenance of ferries; the construction of fireguards; the provision of a water supply; road improvements; the organization and administration of local improvement districts and the collection of arrears in taxes.

Also in 1905, the department purchased eleven existing buildings, including the jails (gaols) at Regina and Prince Albert from the Dominion Government. By 1906, responsibility for the administration of the jails and their inmates was shared between the department and the Department of the Attorney General. In 1915, Public Works assumed full responsibility. Wardens of the jails reported to the Deputy Minister of the department. A new jail building was constructed at Moosomin (1909) and jails were replaced at Regina (1914) and Prince Albert (1922). Between 1931 and 1941, female inmates were housed at the North Battleford Women's Gaol until the women's facility at Prince Albert was reopened. Responsibility for jails was transferred to the Department of Social Welfare in 1947.

Responsibility for the construction and maintenance of public buildings was added in 1906, and construction of new facilities, including court houses and the Legislative Building in Regina, began shortly thereafter.

In 1908, responsibility for local improvements was transferred to the newly established Department of Municipal Affairs. In 1909, the commissioner and deputy commissioner became known as minister and deputy minister. From 1910 to 1911, the department administered The Factories Act and mediated wage disputes. Around 1912, administration of The Factories Act and The Coal Mines Act was transferred to the Department of Agriculture.

Several significant departmental changes occurred around 1914. Responsibility for surveying, bridges, ferries, fireguards, water supply, and road improvements was transferred to the Board of Highway Commissioners. The department assumed responsibility for the administration of psychiatric hospitals, and detention facilities. The administration of the estates of persons, with no other guardian, detained in a mental hospital in Saskatchewan, was transferred from trust companies to the department. The department also became responsible for landscaping the grounds of public buildings.

In 1928, the administration of The Steam Boilers Act was transferred to the newly established Department of Railways, Labour and Industries. The function was returned to Public Works in September, 1934 and remained there until 1945, when it was transferred to the Department of Labour.

In the early 1930's, responsibility for the administration of the two psychiatric hospitals (North Battleford and Weyburn) and the Industrial School for Boys was transferred to the Departments of Public Health and Education respectively. Public Works retained responsibility for the maintenance of the psychiatric hospitals and also maintained the new School for the Deaf in Saskatoon after it opened in 1931. In 1936, the department stopped administering the estates of the mentally incompetent.

Around 1941, the department began purchasing and maintaining vehicles for use by government employees. Around 1943, the department began operating a plant to supply electricity and steam power to the Legislative Building. In the late 1940's, responsibility for the maintenance of psychiatric hospitals, schools for the deaf and boys schools was transferred to other departments. Public Works started to provide a government mail and messenger service in 1947 and began to operate a machine shop and government garage for servicing government vehicles around 1949.

By the early 1960's, the department's primary functions related to the provision of accommodation, transportation and mail services to government agencies. The department's operation and maintenance of government buildings included space planning, leasing, and management of construction projects. In 1966, the Central Vehicle Agency (CVA) was established to provide vehicles and aircraft for use by government departments and agencies. CVA also assumed responsibility for the province's air ambulance service.

On April 1, 1972, the Department of Public Works was reorganized into the Department of Government Services.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Public health ordinances created during the Territorial period of Saskatchewan's history had been administered by the Royal North West Mounted Police. As of April 10, 1906, the ordinances were enforced by the Minister of Agriculture of the new province of Saskatchewan.

In 1909, The Public Health Act created a Bureau of Public Health which was responsible to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

By 1923, it was felt that the responsibilities of the Bureau had expanded to such a degree that it should become a separate department of the government of Saskatchewan. The Act Respecting the Department of Public Health [The Department of Public Health Act] was assented to on March 22, 1923 transforming the Bureau into the Department of Public Health. The Act stated that "All that part of the administration of the Government of Saskatchewan which relates to public health shall be under the control of the department."

The legislation gave the Department the responsibility for administering The Public Health Act, The Vital Statistics Act and The Venereal Diseases Act. The annual report for 1923 also includes responsibility for the Union Hospital Act and the Act to Regulate Public Aid to Hospitals which fell under the enabling legislation as "such other Acts as may be from time to time assigned to it." John Michael Ulrich was named Minister of Public Health and on April 11, 1923, Maurice MacDonald Seymour was appointed Deputy Minister.

The administration of these acts is reflected in the Divisions within the new department which changed very little from the structure of the old Bureau:

Division of Communicable Disease - responsible for epidemiology and statistics, distribution of vaccines and sera, supervision and treatment of trachoma, supervision of tuberculosis and care of the dead.

Division of Sanitation - responsible for a water and milk laboratory, waterworks and sewerage, public health exhibits, urban and rural sanitation, temporary housing such as lumber camps and hospital organization and construction.

Venereal Disease Division - responsible for tracking, treatment, education and statistics relating to sexually transmitted diseases. This included the operation of dispensaries and clinics.

Laboratory Division - responsible for government laboratories / testing and evaluation including pathology, bacteriology, chemical analysis of food, milk, water and alcoholic beverages. The division also supplied physicians, hospitals and veterinarians with culture media, sterile containers and swabs for taking samples.

Division of Child Welfare - provided education and support for expectant mothers and infants through clinics, maternity grants and home nursing. The Division was also responsible for Hospital Management which included hospital regulation and review.

Vital Statistics Division - responsible for recording, certification, tabulation and searches of records and statistics relating to population, births, marriages, deaths, divorces, communicable disease and infant mortality. Aside from the expected statistics, the division also tracked data such as inter-religious and interracial marriage.

Administration Division - responsible for the administration and operation of the department itself. It occasionally had the responsibility for some activities that fell outside of the purview of other divisions.

Other duties of the Department as prescribed by the enabling legislation were the authority to: institute inquiry and collect facts and statistics relating to all matters of public health; disseminate information in such manner and form as may be found best adapted to promote health and to prevent and suppress disease; secure the observance and execution of all Acts and regulations dealing with matters of public health and vital statistics; issue from time to time such reports, statistics, circulars and other publications as may be deemed advisable; and perform such other duties as may be assigned to it from time to time by law or by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council.

The annual budget for the fiscal year ending April 30, 1924 was $540,399.42 of which over $300,000 was aid to hospitals.

There were few major changes in the structure of the Department for the next 20 years. School Hygiene Branch was transferred from the Department of Education to Public Health in 1928 and was merged with Child Welfare to form the Division of Public Health Nursing. Hospital Management was split off as its own division. In 1930, responsibility for mental institutions was transferred from Public Works to Public Health and the Administration Division of Public Health administered The Mental Defectives Act.

By 1941, the department administered a dozen provincial acts: The Public Health Act; The Hospitals Act; The Union Hospital Act; The Tuberculosis Sanatoria and Hospitals Act; The Venereal Diseases Act; The Vital Statistics Act; The Marriage Act; The Mental Hygiene Act; The Anatomy Act; The Municipal Medical and Hospital Services Act; The Mutual Medical and Hospital Benefit Associations Act; The Saskatchewan Cancer Commission Act.

Major changes occurred in 1944 with the election of the Canadian Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government, led by Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas. Health care became the single most important issue for the CCF as evidenced by the fact that Douglas took on the portfolio for the Department as well as being Premier of Saskatchewan. One of the first undertakings of the CCF was to appoint a commission in September of 1944 to review the state of health care in Saskatchewan and to make recommendations. The Health Services Survey Commission (HSSC) was headed by Dr. Henry E. Sigerist of Johns Hopkins Medical School. Following the commission's report, the Health Services Planning Commission (HSPC) was created on November 14, 1944 to continue to provide advisory services but also to step outside the existing conservative bureaucracy in implementing the recommendations of the Sigerist Commission.

For the next 5 years, the lines between the Department and the HSPC blur. Bureaucrats of the time are quoted as saying that the activities of both crossed back and forth. Even so, the basic divisional structure of the Department remained very similar. Some new initiatives and divisions were created during this period. Industrial Hygiene undertook the safety of workers. Many of these new initiatives had a large educational and preventative component. Dental Health took an active role in education re: dental hygiene and actual treatment. Divisions for Physical Fitness, Nutrition, and Health Education were also added to the departmental organizational charts.

North America's first civilian air ambulance service was created during this period and fell under the Department of Public Health organizational charts but it was not given division status.

On April 1, 1950, the administrative functions of the health department and the HSPC were combined in a reorganized Department of Public Health. The HSPC continued to exist but was reduced to an advisory role. The various divisions were reorganized under six branches with branch heads reporting to the Assistant Deputy Minister who then reported to the Deputy Minister.

The Branches consisted of: Administrative Services Branch; Research Statistics Branch; Psychiatric Services Branch; Medical and Hospital Services Branch; Regional Health Services Branch; Preventive Services Branch.

The Occupational Health Division and Health Education Division reported directly to the Assistant Deputy Minister outside of any branch structure. The Occupational Health Branch was established in 1957. The Medical Care Insurance Plan was implemented on July 1, 1962 following passage of The Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act, in 1961. In 1966, the Air Ambulance Service Staff, Equipment and Aircraft were transferred to the Central Vehicles Agency under the Department of Public Works. The Department of Public Health was charged on a per mile basis for all Air Ambulance flights.

On July 1, 1974, the Dept. of Public Health became the Department of Health. Walter Edmund Smishek served as Minister for the Department both before and after the name change. This nomenclature remains in effect as of June 2005. The annual report covering the period April 1, 1973 to March 31, 1974 referred to the Department of Health, reflecting the name current during the preparation of the report rather than the title used during the period being reported on. Total expenditures for the fiscal year 1973-1974 (the last full year as Department of Public Health) totaled $194,233,131.22, a substantial increase over the half million budgeted for the first year of operation.

Name of creator


Biographical history

In 1929, the Government of Saskatchewan appointed a special commission to study the province's psychiatric services and make recommendations for improvements. In December, 1930 the government acted on the commission's recommendations by establishing the Office of the Commissioner of Mental Services to oversee all psychiatric services in Saskatchewan. The first commissioner appointed was Dr. J.W. MacNeill, who held the position until 1945. Subsequent commissioners included Dr. R.O. Davison (1945-1946) and Dr. D.G. McKerracher (1946-1947).

The Commissioner of Mental Services advised the Minister of Public Health on mental health issues and oversaw the psychiatric hospitals at North Battleford and Weyburn; the Saskatchewan Training School in Weyburn and the psychiatric ward at the Regina General Hospital. The Commissioner frequently lectured on mental health issues and advocated developments in psychiatric programs and services.

In 1945, amendments to the Mental Hygiene Act transferred greater authority regarding the admission and removal of patients in institutions from the Deputy Minister of Public Health to the Commissioner of Mental Services. In 1947, the office was reorganized into the Division of Mental Services in the Department of Public Health.

Name of creator


Biographical history

In 1947, the Office of the Commissioner of Mental Services was reorganized into the Division of Mental Services in the Department of Public Health. The Division's mandate was administering psychiatric hospitals, training schools, short term treatment units in general hospitals and community psychiatric services, including mental health clinics. The Division was headed by a commissioner in Regina.

In 1947, the division was responsible for two psychiatric hospitals (North Battleford and Weyburn), the Saskatchewan Training School (Weyburn), one psychiatric ward (Regina General Hospital), and mental health clinics in Regina, Weyburn, Moose Jaw and North Battleford.

In September 1947, the division began administering the newly-established 500 hour, three year psychiatric nursing training program. In 1949, the division employed five teacher-psychologists to provide mental health consultative services to schools across the province. The teacher-psychologists assisted teachers individually and in groups in dealing with individual children and special situations.

On April 1, 1950 the Division of Mental Services was reorganized into the Psychiatric Services Branch.

Name of creator


Biographical history

On April 1, 1950, the Division of Mental Services in the Department of Public Health was reorganized into the Psychiatric Services Branch, with Dr. D.G. McKerracher named as director. The branch's original mandate included administering psychiatric hospitals, training schools and psychiatric short-term treatment units in general hospitals and administering community psychiatric services, including mental health clinics and providing teacher-psychologists to consult on mental health issues in schools.

In 1950, the branch was responsible for two psychiatric hospitals (North Battleford and Weyburn), the Saskatchewan Training School (Weyburn), one psychiatric ward (Munroe Wing, Regina General Hospital), two full time mental health clinics (Regina, Saskatoon) and six part-time mental health clinics (Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Yorkton, Swift Current, North Battleford and Prince Albert). Two teacher-psychologists were added in 1950, bringing the provincial total to seven, located at Weyburn, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, North Battleford and Yorkton.

In the early 1950's, the branch expanded its mandate to include the provision of training programs for its professional staff in all institutions. A psychiatric research program was also established. Research was conducted in the various psychiatric institutions and focused primarily on schizophrenia, senility, anxiety and depression, and alcoholism. In 1955, the Research Unit headquarters were transferred from the Munroe Wing at the Regina General Hospital to University Hospital, Saskatoon.

Around 1964, the branch adopted a regional approach to the delivery of its programs and services. The province was divided into three regions (Yorkton, Southern and Northern), each overseen by a regional director with staff of various disciplines offering a range of psychiatric services to the population in that area. By the late 1960's there were eight psychiatric regions (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Weyburn, North Battleford, Yorkton, Regina and Swift Current).

Around 1970, the branch director and deputy director became known as the executive director and associate director.

In 1972, the psychiatric nursing training program was transferred to the Department of Continuing Education. On December 1, 1972, all programs for mentally challenged individuals, including the training schools at Prince Albert and Moose Jaw, were transferred to the newly organized Core Services Administration within the Department of Social Services.

By 1974, the branch continued to offer services to the eight psychiatric regions. It was responsible for administering the Saskatchewan Hospital, North Battleford, five psychiatric wards in hospitals (Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Prince Albert), eight full time mental health clinics and 39 part-time clinics. Psychiatric research continued to be centered out of University Hospital, Saskatoon.

On July 1, 1974, the Department of Public Health was renamed the Department of Health. The Psychiatric Services Branch continued to operate in the new department.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series consists of seventeen patient registers created, accumulated and used from 1914 to 1971 by personnel at Saskatchewan Hospital, North Battleford.

No sub-series assignment has been applied to the records in this series.

Notes area

Physical condition

Volume 14 (Male Index and Ward Location: Date of Admission - Feb.4, 1914 to Nov. 23, 1948) had significant damage from adhesive tape. Most of the information is difficult to read.

Immediate source of acquisition

Personnel at Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford transferred these records to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives, in one accession in 2000: R2000-225 (June 6, 2000).


Order imposed by archivist.
Series title supplied by archivist.
Titles of registers were recorded by archivist as they appeared on the volumes.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

A microfilm copy is available of the records in this government series. Micro. 2.1101 to Micro. R-2.1106

Restrictions on access

These records are subject to access restrictions.

No access to original material. Microfilm copies are available for consultation.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication, and/or reproduction of records are subject to Crown copyright.

Finding aids

SAFA 373 consists of a series level description and a list of registers only and is available in paper format.

Associated materials

Related materials


Further accruals are expected.


Archival staff removed protruding fasteners and tape and unfolded and flattened pages prior to microfilming.

Alpha-numeric designations

Microfilm: R-2.1101 to R-2.1106

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Description record identifier

S 45

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Rules or conventions

Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.



Level of detail

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

  • Latin


Content of the series.

Accession area