Fort Nelson

Northern Rockies Seniors Society
The Northern Rockies Seniors represent Fort Nelson and Fort Nelson First Nation.
Joan Kinzett
Twitter: @NRSS_FortNelson

Heritage Place

Fort Nelson was the original mile 0 for the Alaska Highway. Contrary to popular belief, the construction for the Highway began here. Today, Fort Nelson is home to 4,700 residents, and attracts some 320,000 visitors in the summer months.


The BC Rural Health Network (BCRHN) consists of healthcare advocacy organizations working in cooperation with healthcare policymakers. The purpose of the Network is to promote and support a health services system that improves and sustains the health and well-being of residents of rural communities across British Columbia.

Our goals include the following:

  • to share successful strategies in an effort to address rural healthcare concerns
  • to advocate for policy changes that provide all rural residents with attachment to a health care practitioner
  • to identify areas of research aimed at improving access to healthcare in rural communities and to provide fertile ground for research to take place
  • to inform the BC Ministry of Health of rural healthcare concerns
  • to recommend solutions for the improvement of services to rural BC residents
  • to work in partnership with other provincial organizations to influence policy changes that improve access to healthcare services
  • to recognize the healthcare concerns of indigenous communities and include their issues and concerns as part of our work
  • to improve access to mental health services
  • to promote patient-centred, community-based primary healthcare reform

Membership is open to any organization or individual that supports the purpose and goals of the BCRHN.

BC Health Coalition – BC Health Coalition
Bella Coola – Moira McIlwain, Individual Member
Castlegar – Castlegar & District Hospital Foundation
Castlegar – City of Castlegar Mayor and Council
Central Okanagan Hospice Association – Kelowna
Chase – Chase & District Health Services Foundation
Chetwynd Chamber of Commerce
Cortes Island – Cortes Community Health Association
East Shore Kootenay Lake – Community Health Society
Fernie – Elk Valley Hospice Society
Fort Nelson – Northern Rockies Seniors Society
Fort St. John – Save Our Northern Seniors (SONS) Individual Members Margaret & Jim Little
Fraser Lake – Individual Members Bob and Elaine Storey
Greater Trail Hospice Society
Hornby & Denman Islands – Community Healthcare Society Nelson
Invermere – Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley
Kaslo and Area D – Health Care Select Committee
Kaslo – Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake
Langley – BC Association of Community Response Networks
Nakusp Village
Nanaimo – Jane Osborne/BC Assoc. of Community Response Networks
Nelson – Nelson Cares Society – Age Friendly Community Initiative
Nelson – Community First Health and Education Centre
Nelson – Nelson Area Society for Health (NASH)
New Denver Hospice Society
New Denver – Slocan Chamber of Commerce Health Committee
New Denver – Mayor and Council/Select Health Committee
Oliver – Desert Valley Hospice Society
Pender Harbour Health Centre
Pender Island Health Care Society
Port Alberni – Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Nursing Services
Powell River – Powell River Voices
Princeton – Support Our Health Care (SOHC)
Quadra Island – Quadra Island Health Society
Revelstoke Hospice Society
Roberts Creek/Sunshine Coast – Johanna Trimble, Individual Member
Salmon Arm – Shuswap Hospice Society
Salt Spring Island – Curt Firestone, Individual Member
Salt Spring Island – Salt Spring Community Health Services
Sicamous – Community Health Centre
Sicamous – Eagle Valley Community Support Society
Sicamous and District– Mayor and Council
Silverton – Mayor and Council
Slocan – Mayor and Council
Sorrento – Sorrento and Area Community Health Centre Society
South Shuswap – Health Services Society
Sunshine Coast Resource Centre – Seniors Planning Table
Trail – Society for Protection and Care of Seniors (SCPS)
Valemount – John Grogan, Individual Member
Valemount – Kurien Thomas, Individual Member
Vancouver – Marcy Cohen, researcher
Vancouver – William Day, Individual Member
Vancouver – RCCbc liaison Stuart Johnston
Vancouver – UBC/Centre for Rural Health Research/RER – Jude Kornelsen
Vermillion Forks Métis Association – Princeton



The BC Rural Health Network (the BCRHN) is the healthcare voice for all rural residents of British Columbia.

To promote and support a health services system that improves and sustains the health and well- being of residents of rural communities across British Columbia 

– All British Columbians are entitled to efficiently provided, timely and
effective health services.

– While the rural communities of BC differ widely in terms of needs,
desires, strengths, challenges and distinctive characters they share
many concerns regarding obstacles to essential healthcare services.

– Residents in rural communities are recognized as authorities on what
is best for their community. Grassroots healthcare advocacy
organizations exist in rural communities because of the recognized
need to improve services.

– Improvement to services will result from collaborative, cooperative
relationships developed between community organizations, health
authorities, local elected officials, local health workers, and provincial
policy makers.

– Together we present a strong and unified voice for change.

The following goals of the BCRHN focus on the need to provide solutions to common problems through cooperative and collaborative enterprise with key stakeholders:

– share successful strategies between member organizations

– advocate for policy change at the provincial level aimed at providing
all rural residents with access to timely and efficient primary health

– identify areas of research and to provide fertile ground for this
research to take place

– work in partnership with other provincial organizations to attain our

– Include indigenous communities through the involvement of the First
Nations Health Authority

– improve access to mental health services

– promote patient centred, team based, community focused primary
healthcare reform


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Individual Board members of the  BC Rural Health Network taking the pledge for Cultural Safety and Humility at our two day Board Retreat in Sicamous, September 14/15, 2019. We developed a strategic plan that will guide our actions for the coming year and beyond, and came to agreement on seven broad tasks with working groups assigned to each. 
From left to right: Elaine Storey, Curt Firestone, Colin Moss, James Lesley, Nienke Klaver, Pam Beech; sitting: Ed Staples.


Review of Family Medicine Within Rural and Remote Canada: Education, Practice and Policy

From the BC Province-wide Health Services Categories (2015)



Rural Health Services Research Network May 2018 Conference

Rural Health Services Research Conference, May 2018, Nelson
May 31  – June 1, 2018

A two day conference, organized by the Rural Health Services Research Network

A sampling of the symposiums, panels and workshops: 
– Responding to Adult Vulnerability in Rural Communities
– Poverty Reduction and the “Living Wage”.
– Exploring Rural Health Systems
– Exploring Issues of Equity in Rural Health Services
– Emerging models of care
– Breaking new ground for Telehealth Programming
– Patient Engagement in Research
– The Rural Catchment Project: Strengthening local evidence through a catchment methodology

Keynote speaker Dr. Lesley Barclay, from the  National Rural Health Alliance in Australia gave a presentation called Insights on Establishing Alliances and Partnering for Healthy Rural Communities. 

During this conference it was possible to have a side meeting with the BC Rural Health Network members who were present. Dr. Barclay was able to attend this meeting to give us valuable information re rural networks.

Rural Coordination Centre of BC on the BC Rural Health Network

From the Rural Coordination Centre of BC
October 2018 enewsletter

This grassroots organization may be young (it started up in December 2017) but has much wisdom to share.

The BC Rural Health Network is a collective of small communities working collaboratively to advocate for improved health service delivery in rural BC. 

The idea to create this group came after a presentation by the Princeton-based Support Our Health Care (SOHC) group at the BC Health Coalition Conference in 2017. SOHC presented a “how-to” workshop on organizing a Community Consultation on Health Care. 

The response to the presentation was overwhelmingly positive, and SOHC found itself being approached afterwards by other organizations who either had similar expertise to lend, or who wanted to draw on the hard-earned wisdom of SOHC and other seasoned rural BC community health care advocacy groups. A few weeks later, the BC Rural Health Network was formed with members from the communities of Ashcroft, Nelson, Sicamous, South Shuswap, Trail, and Princeton taking part.

Although the network is still establishing itself in a formal sense – terms of reference for the organization are in the process of being finalized – it has hit the ground running, organizing meetings with key stakeholders (including the Ministry of Health), connecting with other rural communities and adding to its membership, hosting conversations with rural physicians through the Divisions of Family Practice, and planning next steps. 

If your BC rural community is looking for information, support, or ideas about how to improve and sustain health care services, check out the BC Rural Health Network online or on Facebook. We’re all in this together.

Rural Coordination Centre of BC



New Members

May 5, 2020
Our newest member is the Village of Nakusp! The Village of Nakusp is a village located on the shores of Upper Arrow Lake, a portion of the Columbia River, in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia

April 15, 2020
Please welcome our newest member: Pender Island Health Care Society.
The PIHCS is a community non-profit society which owns and operates the Pender Islands Health Centre.

January 4, 2020
Our newest member is Quadra Island Health Society.

Please welcome our latest two members: the BC Association of Community Response Networks and the Village of Silverton.

August 5, 2019
Our newest member is Jane Osborne from the BC Community Response Networks.
Jane is a member of the Community Based Seniors’ Services Leadership Council, and co-leads the Rural and Remote Communities Provincial Working Group.  Much of her work is in rural communities on Vancouver Island.

Osborne is associated with the following Community Health Networks
Cowichan Communities Health Network
Alberni/Clayoquot Health Network
Oceanside Health & Wellness Network
Comox Valley Community Health Network
Strathcona Community Health Network and 
Mount Waddington Health Network

June 4, 2019
Our newest member is the Village of Slocan. Founded by Frank Fletcher of Nelson in 1892, Slocan City was the smallest incorporated city in the British Commonwealth, perhaps in the world. In 1958 Slocan City reincorporated as a village and is now known as the Village of Slocan. Slocan has about 360 residents.

May 27, 2019
Welcome to our new member the Northern Rockies Seniors Society. The NRSS represents Fort Nelson and Fort Nelson First Nation.

May 24, 2019
Please welcome the  Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Nursing Services
Communities represented by this organization are Port Alberni which is the main office location and considered the Southern NTC Region, which includes the Tseshaht, Opetcheshaht, Ditidaht, and Huuayaht Nations.
Tofino is where a satellite office is located in the Central NTC Region which includes Ahousaht, Tla-o-quiaht, Hesquiaht, Ucluelet, and Toquaht Nations.
Gold River is where another satellite office is located in the Northern NTC Region which includes Kyuquot, Mowachaht, Ehattesaht and Nuchatlaht Nations. 

Welcome to our new member organization: 
Chase and District Health Services Foundation!
Dave Smith
Bruce Nelson
Jeanine Joelsen
J.L. (Len) McLean
This Foundation has been in existence since 1997. They represent the communities of Chase, Pritchard, Neskjonlith, Adams Lake I.R., Adams Lake, Little Shuswap I.R., Turtle Valley and Lee Creek.

We are very happy to announce that our newest member is the 
City of Castlegar
Mayor Bruno Tassone –
Tracey Butler – Director of Corporate Services –

April 26, 2019
Please welcome our new member group 
Sorrento and Area Community Health Centre Society.
They represent the communities of Sorrento, Blind Bay, Tappen-Sunnybrae, Notch Hill and Eagle Bay
telephone: 250-675-3306. 

Please welcome our new member Johanna Trimble from the Sunshine Coast.
Johanna brings a wealth of experience to our organization as a Lecturer for the Care of the Elderly (Dept. of Family Practice, UBC) and through her work on medication safety for elders. 

A warm welcome to the newest member of the BC Rural Health Network:
East Shore Kootenay Lake Community Health Society.
ESKLCHS represents the following communities:
Riondel, Crawford Bay, Kootenay Bay, Gray Creek, Boswell, Sanca, and Twin Bays
To read more, please use the pull down Member Communities button.


Chase and District Health Services Foundation

Dave Smith President 250-679-7766
Jeanine Joelsen Secretary 250-679-3644
J.L. (Len) McLean Director 250-679-5486

Communities represented: Chase, Pritchard,Nesknlith, Adams Lake I.R.,Adams Lake, Little Shuswap I.R., Turtle Valley and Lee Creek.
The Chase and District Health Services Foundation is a Non Profit Society, registered in the Province of BC in 1997 for the purposes of improvement of patient services in the catchment area, through providing support for development, equipment, education and research. The Foundation operates as a fund-raising vehicle and regularly purchases medical equipment to support the Chase Health Centre and other local programs. At present there are no other societies in Chase that represent or advocate for health services and as such most matters of this nature are referred to the Foundation.

The Chase Health Centre services a resident population of 2286 persons and an rural outlaying area which includes a portion of the North Shuswap, Adams Lake, three First Nations Reserves, Sorrento, the Skimikin-Turtle Valley area, to Pritchard and the Paxton Valley with a population in the area of approximately 3,000 persons.

The Foundation Board of Directors consists of President (Dave Smith), Vice President (Bruce Nelson), Secretary (Jeanine Joelson), Treasurer (Leslie Bell), 5 Directors and an advisory board of 5 members. All of the Foundation members operate on a voluntary basis and there are no paid positions on the organization. The Foundation meets on a regular monthly basis at the Chase Health Centre for issues that fall within our mandate, and the meetings are open to the general public. Our Advisor Board consists of members representing the Village of Chase, the Chase Medical Clinic, The Chase Health Centre, the Provinicial CREMS Program, the Thompson Regiono Division of Family Practice and the Creekside Seniors Organization.

The Shuswap area attracts an unusual large number of retirees. The number of seniors in Chase makes up aprox. 36.8% of the total resident popuation. A similar statistic applies to the North Shuswap as well which, when combined, leaves us a population of approx. 1677 people over the age of 65 years. This situation has edged our Foundation into the role of a senior’s advocacy organization as well as a medical support group.

News Releases

Note: since the following are screenshots, the links will not be accessible. Please download for hot links.


New beds, support to help more people access addictions and recovery care

News Release
Friday, July 10, 2020 10:15 AM

Increased access to treatment and recovery services will help more people living with addictions during two public health emergencies – the overdose crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Province is investing $16 million to support new treatment and recovery beds and to support existing services that have been challenged by COVID-19.

“British Columbians are facing two public health emergencies and pressures from COVID-19 have tragically resulted in more lives lost to overdose,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “We are working at full speed to stem the tide of these dual crises and connect more people to the treatment and recovery services they need. These new beds will be another step toward building the comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care that British Columbians deserve.”

Of the overall investment, $13.5 million in grant funding will increase the number of treatment and recovery beds throughout the province for people struggling with substance use challenges. Because the cost per bed differs based on its location and type of services provided, this funding is estimated to add 50 to 70 new publicly funded beds to help more people over the next three years.

Funding will be directed through the Canadian Mental Health Association to deliver community grants – in consultation with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and health authorities – and will prioritize underserved communities. Applications will open in August 2020 for eligible licensed and registered not-for-profit and private service providers.

To read the full news release, click on: New beds, support to help more people access addictions and recovery care


Interior getting 495 new long-term care beds

News Release
Monday, July 13, 2020

The  Province and Interior Health are helping to meet the needs of the growing seniors’ population with the largest one-time increase in long-term care beds in the region in over 15 years.

The addition of 495 long-term care beds will ensure seniors can continue to receive care where they live, as well as providing more opportunities for jobs in health care.

“COVID-19 has shown what we can achieve together,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The investments we made to raise care standards across B.C. made an important difference when we were met with COVID-19.

“The plan we are setting in motion today for nearly 500 beds is what people in the region need. This historical investment is a commitment to seniors living in Interior communities, an assurance that care close to home will be available, when they need it.”

There are 140 beds being planned for the Central Okanagan in Kelowna, 100 in Kamloops, 90 in Vernon, 90 in Penticton and 75 in Nelson. The exact location of the beds will be determined through the competitive bid process.

Once open, the number of publicly funded long-term care beds available in the Interior Health region will increase by nearly 10%, rising to 6,550.

To read the full news release, click on: Interior getting 495 new long-term care beds


#DifferentTogether: Join Me in Opposing Racism

Over the past few months, British Columbians have pulled together to vanquish COVID-19, and we have witnessed many acts of kindness and selfless generosity. Sadly, however, our success has been marred by recent incidents of race-based violence and discrimination. I strongly condemn these racist acts; they have no place in our province or our country. I ask you to join me, alongside leaders in government, business and social services, in pledging to uphold the Canadian values of diversity and inclusion and to oppose racism and hate in all its forms. We are stronger when we are #DifferentTogether.

Take the #DifferentTogether Pledge:
Join me in sharing the #DifferentTogether pledge on social media and encouraging others to take part. A link can be found here:

Ways to Participate in Three Easy Steps:

  1. Download the #DifferentTogether pledge graphic for TwitterFacebook or Instagram or use the Screenshot below.
  2. Share it on social media and tag five friends, family members, or leaders in your community.
  3. Encourage them to do the same.

I also encourage you to share a video of yourself highlighting your commitment to opposing racism, and upload it to social media using the hashtag #DifferentTogether.


Helping rural, remote and Indigenous communities respond to COVID-19

Monday, April 20, 2020 
A new collaborative framework will help ensure people living in rural, remote and Indigenous communities in B.C. have access to critical health care they can count on to meet their unique needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.  

“People living in rural, remote and Indigenous communities have unique challenges in accessing the health care they need,” said Premier John Horgan. “This new collaborative framework will bring immediate relief to these communities, including a commitment to moving patients to the critical care they need at a moment’s notice. This will help our work to stop the spread of COVID-19, while supporting better health outcomes into the future.”

The framework was developed through a partnership between the First Nations Health Authority, Northern Health and Provincial Health Services Authority. The work is guided by the principles of cultural safety and humility, and adds to work underway by the Rural Coordination Centre of BC.

First Nations members can access Virtual Doctor of the Day online:

The latest COVID-19modelling presentation and information is available online:

For information on how returning travellers can submit self-isolation plans, visit: 

For mental health and anxiety support, visit:  

For the latest medical updates, including case counts and information on how to protect yourself and your community, visit:
Or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

For the provincial health officer’s orders, notices and guidance, visit:

For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, visit: 
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week.

To use the online COVID-19 self-assessment tool or to download the app, visit:

For the latest videos and livestreaming of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit:

To access the framework, clink on:
Helping rural, remote and Indigenous communities respond to COVID-19


Rural Emergency Departments & COVID19

Ottawa, ON: March 21, 2020

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians & The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada

Canada’s rural population, which includes many Indigenous communities, requires equitable access and care close to their homes. Infrastructure, human resources, geography and weather impact rural medical outcomes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that urban and rural referral sites support each other and act as a unified system of emergency care. It is critical that Canada’s rural Emergency Departments (EDs) remain open and staffed. It is of national interest to avoid unnecessary rural patient transfers to urban and tertiary care centres already at full capacity. Similarly, robust repatriation of patients back to their rural origin will optimize tertiary care capacity. Some rural regional hospitals have ICUs, in-situ ventilator capability, and a core generalist specialty service but require specific attention and support.

Rural Canadian resources are ill equipped for the pandemic. Rural EDs are much smaller and have limited human health resources making it difficult to mitigate staff illness, self-isolation/quarantine requirements and burn-out. The staffing models and service impacts are also different. Full scope rural family practice generalists cover multiple community roles simultaneously. In addition to ED coverage they provide office practice, inpatient and long-term care, maternity and obstetrics, OR assisting, chemotherapy, remote clinic oversight, Indigenous population outreach and transfer medicine to name a few.

Rural Canadian hospitals are now struggling with supply chains of basic medications (MDI, antibiotics, sedation agents), testing supplies and Personal Protective Equipment. Coupled with more prolonged testing turnaround times and fewer resources for managing and educating staff, there needs to be increased attention to rural access to care during the COVID19 pandemic.


1. National licencing/credentialing: establishment of emergency pan-Canadian licensure of health care workers. Create a standardized national system for rapid / dynamic intra-provincial and cross-provincial regulatory licensing. Improving provincial health authority credentialing and privileging for multiple jurisdictions (rural to urban, urban to rural).

2. Utilize new grads: mandate that recently graduating MDs with provisional licenses (because of delayed formal certification exams) can do locums, be assigned billing numbers and sign employment contracts.

3. Increased Funding and coverage: Federal and provincial funding mandated to respond immediately to increase number of temporary rural positions. The majority of rural EDs are staffed with single physician coverage.

4. Create Rapid Rural Relief Teams: creation and deployment of centralized provincial teams that include MDs, core generalist specialties, RNs and Respiratory Therapists.

To access the full article, click on the TITLE


24/7 mental health support on the way for post-secondary students

News Release
January 28, 2020

The Province has selected Morneau Shepell to develop a free mental health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students throughout British Columbia.

After a rigorous procurement process, Morneau Shepell was chosen to create and operate a 24/7 mental health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students at all public and private post-secondary institutions in B.C. The company will provide on-demand, immediate counselling and referral support to almost half a million students in B.C.’s public and private post-secondary institutions. 

“Mental health is an issue our government takes seriously,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Post-secondary students have told me there is a gap in mental heath support services. The stress students feel at university or college can be significant, and can lead to serious isolation and potentially deadly outcomes. I am proud our government is responding to this call to action by creating a place for students to reach out for help 24/7.”

This mental health service will mean for the first time in B.C., every student – whether rural, urban, domestic, international, public, private, full-time or part-time – will have access to 24/7 services to supplement services on campus and in the community. As this provincewide program is a new service, the ministry will take the time to engage with students and post-secondary institutions on the design of the service before launch in spring 2020.

“Many students don’t come forward and ask for the help they need because of the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This service will meet young people where they are at and provide them immediate access to someone to talk to, without shame or judgement.” 

Morneau Shepell administers the largest clinical network in Canada. It has delivered mental health solutions since 1974 and services more than 20,000 organizations world-wide. Morneau Shepell supports more than 3,800 clients across all services in B.C. and more than 200 post-secondary institutions across North America, directly and via partnerships, through its student support programs.

The three-year contract has a budget of $1.5 million per year.

Improving mental health in schools is an integral part of government’s actions outlined in A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for making the system of mental health and addictions care better for people no matter where they live in the province.

Implementing A Pathway to Hope is a shared priority with the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.


BC Rural Health Network appoints Connie Howe as Administrator

Connie Howe and Edward Staples

January 10, 2020

The BC Rural Health Network (BCRHN) is very pleased to announce that Connie Howe has been named as its new Administrator.  After almost two years of development work by a dedicated Board of Directors, Howe becomes the first paid staff of the Network.

BCRHN provides rural British Columbians with a strong and unified voice advocating for the improvement of healthcare services. 

“An Administrator endowed with Connie Howe’s background and skills comes along all too seldom” says Ed Staples, BCRHN President.    Howe has just stepped aside from being Executive Director of Princeton and District Community Services Society.  She is well versed on the needs of rural residents and the operations of a major not for profit society.

Funding for the Administrator is supported by the Rural Coordination Centre of BC and the British Columbia Academic Health Science Network.  Both organizations recognize the valuable contribution the BC Rural Health Network is making in the enhancement of rural health services.  BCRHN will now have the professional administrative skills needed to meet its goals and objectives.  “Howe’s 30 years of experience with community services programs is just what the doctor ordered” adds Staples.


For Immediate Release
November 18, 2019
(Unceded Coast Salish Territories – Vancouver, BC) 

On Monday, November 18th, final arguments began in the Charter challenge that put public health care on trial.

The legal attack launched by one of the largest for-profit clinics in Canada seeks to invalidate key protections in the BC Medicare Protection Act which prohibit physician extra billing and duplicate private insurance for medically necessary procedures.This case is the most serious threat that the public health care system has ever faced. It seeks to erase from our laws the fundamental concept of care based on need, not ability to pay. 

“We joined this court case because we believe in defending a public health care system where everyone is covered, everyone is treated equally, and no one goes broke paying for their care,” said Edith MacHattie, a representative of the Coalition Intervenors, which includes the BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

“Brian Day and his lawyers have argued that it’s okay to profit off people’s illnesses. We disagree. All that this case has proven is that a private for-profit system would improve access for the healthiest and wealthiest while creating longer wait times for everybody else. Privatized for-profit health care means that you’ll pay more, get less and be worse off.“ continued MacHattie to a group of community members gathered outside the courthouse

Contrary to CEO Day’s claims, this case is not about protecting patients’ rights or solving the issue of wait times. Cambie Surgeries has not proven that the laws protecting public health care cause lengthy wait times or harm patients’ access to care. Instead, the evidence has shown that public solutions are the best cure for the problem of wait times, and allowing a private tier of health care would worsen wait times for all but the wealthy, and drain resources from the public system.

In Australia, private insurance was encouraged with the goal of reducing wait times, but in fact what occurred is that wait times in the public sector did not improve; in areas where private health care was most used, wait times in the public system went up. [Defendant’s Closing Submissions, p. 375-376]

Expansion of private insurance and care would disproportionately impact patients who are not considered “profitable” in the private system. Glyn Townsend, standing in front of a banner that read “Save Our Medicare”, spoke about the negative impact of a two-tier healthcare system on those with complex health issues and chronic illnesses.

Glyn, who has required health care to monitor and treat his HIV for almost 30 years – has been able to access care because Canada’s health care is publicly funded. If Glyn had been forced to pay for his necessary hospital visits, which have included admission for chicken pox and one for severe shingles, he might have been forced to choose between his health and bankruptcy.

The final arguments of the controversial case will be heard over the next 3 weeks. 

Ayendri Riddell
Campaigner, BC Health Coalition
Phone:  604-787-6560
British Columbia Health Coalition · 3102 Main St, 302, Vancouver,
Unceded Coast Salish Territories, BC V5T 3G7, Canada 



For immediate release:
Kelowna, BC
May 11, 2019

The BC Rural Health Network (BCRHN), advocating for improvement in health
delivery systems in rural communities throughout British Columbia, burst on the
scene officially this past Saturday. In existence since December, 2017, the
BCRHN has rapidly gained a strong advocacy reputation in the province.

The BCRHN held its first Annual General Meeting in Kelowna (May 11, 2019) where member organizations elected a Board of Directors and ratified their Constitution and Bylaws.

Over the past year, in meetings with other provincial health organizations, Health Authorities and the Ministry of Health, the BCRHN has proven to be a reliable partner as it advocates for improved access to health resources for British Columbians living outside the urban core areas.

Ed Staples, President of the Support Our Health Care Society in Princeton, is one of the founders of the BC Rural Health Network and has served as its Chair for the past year. At the AGM Staples stated that, “our primary purpose is to present a strong and unified voice for change and by sharing our success stories with each other we can identify our common concerns and tackle them together.”
One way to help resolve these identified health service delivery problems is the emerging Community Health Centre initiative. The Community Health Centre model has had considerable success throughout Canada and it presents a real opportunity for improving access to primary health care in rural BC.

In its short history, the BC Rural Health Network has grown from six founding members to 34 members, representing all regions of the province. This new society looks forward to working collaboratively with our members and partners in our efforts to improve the health and well-being of rural British Columbians.


Vancouver – Centre for Rural Health Research – RER/UBC

Jude Kornelsen – Co-Director

The Centre for Rural Health Research emerged in response to the need for an evidence base to inform the policy and planning of health services for rural residents of British Columbia, with a focus on maternity care.

Our work is carried out by interdisciplinary teams of health service and social science researchers, health care providers and administrators, senior planners and policy makers, and students and fellows. The productive and collaborative research relationship between the Co-Directors has led to more than 50 peer-reviewed publications.

Our research findings have contributed to a base of evidence that is corroborated by the international literature. Emerging local evidence has been incorporated into planning processes, leading to partnerships with local communities, rural clinicians, and local, regional, provincial, and national planners who have contributed to the development and refinement of the research agenda. Through this reciprocal relationship, we have advanced a relevant and responsive program of health services research.

Our research is supported and funded by the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), and the various Joint Collaborative Committees that are partnerships of the Government of BC and Doctors of BC.

We believe that all rural communities in Canada should have access to sustainable health service. Planning these services requires rigorous evidence. The Centre for Rural Health Research exists to do primarily rural health services, and the work to see it implemented in policy.

RURAL EVIDENCE REVIEW – What is the Rural Evidence Review?

The goal of the Rural Evidence Review (RER) project is to work with rural citizens to provide high quality, useful evidence for rural health care planning in British Columbia. 

To do this we:
1. ask rural citizens about the health care priorities that matter the most to them and their communities, 
2. review the evidence on what we hear, and
3. share what we learn with policy-makers and health administrators in the province. The project is jointly funded by the Rural Coordination Centre of British Columbia and Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research. 

Who are we?
We are a team of researchers from the Centre for Rural Health Research in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia. To learn more about the RER team, click here.

How can you help?
We need the help of rural citizens to know which health care issues are most important to rural communities in B.C., and which topics to research and try to improve. No issue is too big or too sma

Share Your Priorities
You can share your community’s priorities for rural health care in British Columbia with our team at any time and in two ways:
(1) Take our survey. The RER team has developed a short, anonymous survey to learn about rural citizen and community priorities for health care. The survey is available here: [PLEASE NOTE: THIS SURVEY IS NOT RUNNING ANYMORE]
(2) Participate in an interview. Rural citizens are invited to participate in a confidential telephone interview with our research team about your priorities for rural health services in B.C. Interested individuals are asked to email the project’s Coordinator (Christine Carthew) at to let our team know that you would like to take part.
(3) Contact us. The project’s Coordinator, Christine, can be reached at any time to discuss the health care issues and priorities that are most important to rural citizens and communities in B.C. Christine can be reached by email at or telephone at 1 (604) 827-2193.

Participate in the Rural Citizen Advisory Committee
The Rural Evidence Review Team is putting together a Rural Citizen Advisory Committee to:
(1) Provide local input about rural health care needs in British Columbia.
(2) Provide feedback on the project’s work.
(3) Help our team to plan how to share the project’s findings with rural communities across B.C.
Rural citizens in British Columbia who are interested in participating on the advisory committee are asked to email the project’s Coordinator, Christine, at to let our team know that you would like to take part.
Christine Carthew, Project Coordinator
T: (604) 827-2193

Rural Coordination Centre of BC

Stuart Johnston – RCCbc representative

RCCbc works on behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC), an entity that advises the BC government and the Doctors of BC (formerly the BCMA) on matters pertaining to rural medical practice.
• coordinate, facilitate and create new initiatives and projects to bridge gaps between existing rural resources
• link the JSC, rural physicians, rural communities, and UBC
• work to develop strong relationships between all the facets of rural health care
• work broadly through six areas of interest, including education

REAP (Rural Education Action Plan)
– coordinate, facilitate and create new initiatives and projects to bridge gaps between existing rural resources
– use educationally-based strategies to support rural physicians through their careers
– focus primarily on education, recruitment and retention of physicians

Our Approach:
– RCCbc believes that an integrated approach to health care provision supports collaboration, cooperation and interprofessionalism.
– RCCbc engages physicians, nurses, medical administrators, civic leaders, aboriginal leaders and business leaders in discussions about how to best sustain rural health services.
– The work of RCCbc and REAP is evaluated using evidence-based processes and focuses on practical impacts: are health outcomes  improved? Is a practitioner’s quality of life and/or practice better?


Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Nursing Services
Jeannette Watts  – Nursing Manager, RN, BScN, MPH

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) is a not-for-profit society that provides a wide variety of services and supports to fourteen Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations with approximately 10,000 members.
The 14 Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are divided into three regions:
• Southern Region: Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht, Hupacasath, Tse-shaht, and Uchucklesaht
• Central Region: Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Toquaht, and Yuu-cluth-aht
• Northern Region: Ehattesaht, Kyuquot/Cheklesaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, and Nuchatlaht

Organizational Goals
• To advance and protect the ha-ha-hoolthee (territories) of the Nuu-chah-nulth Ha’wiih (Hereditary Chiefs)
• To pursue self-determination
• To promote the betterment, prosperity and well-being of the Nuu-chah-nulth people
• To advance Nuu-chah-nulth culture, language, beliefs and way of life
• To deliver programs and services for members, including:
◦ Health care
◦ Education (funding and support)
◦ Child and family services
◦ Employment readiness
◦ Economic development
◦ Services to strengthen and support families

The NTC serves its members in three key ways:
Program & Service Delivery
The NTC delivers a wide variety of programs and services to participating Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations and their members. Many of these services were once delivered by federal or provincial governments. The NTC is able to adapt these programs and services to some degree so they better meet the unique cultural and other needs of our people.
Political Advocacy
The NTC works to create awareness and advocate for change on an array of socio-political and other issues that affect Nuu-chah-nulth people.
Centralized Administration
The NTC provides a variety of centralized administration and coordination services for participating Nations, including membership records and status card services. Shared services can provide Nations with significant cost savings, better access to skilled workers, and more consistent access to project funding.

Nuu-chah-nulth nursing staff takes the pledge  to promote cultural safety and humility in their organization and the greater health care system

Castlegar and District Hospital Foundation

Susan Raymer – President
Betty Lutz – Director 250-365-2540 
Nettie Stupnikoff  – Alternate

Castlegar and District Hospital Foundation

Castlegar Light Up

The Castlegar and District Hospital Foundation held its Light Up the Health Centre Pledge Day on Friday, December 6

The Castlegar & District Hospital Foundation is a registered charity that is dedicated to raising funds for equipment and services that greatly enhance the wellness, patient care and residential care at the Castlegar Health Centre and Talarico Place in Castlegar, BC.