Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCCs)

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Save Canada’s Public Health Care

Last week (June 14-18, 2021), we listened to the BC Court of Appeal’s hearing for the Cambie case. As promised, we are writing to provide you with an update on the case. 

The appellants argued that this case isn’t about the wealthy having improved access to care. They say that the rise in crowd-funding and community support resources could help everyone pay for faster access to care. Who needs a public health care system when you can use Go-Fund-Me to pay for your surgery instead?!

To read our summary of the events at the appeal hearing including some of the arguments made on all sides, click here.

We remain confident in the strength and breadth of the decision from the BC Supreme Court last September. This case, which involved nearly 200 days in court at the trial level and more than 880 pages in the decision, is one of the most significant in Canadian legal history. We know that the evidence is on our side.

So … what’s next? Unfortunately, again we have to wait. Our legal counsel anticipates that it will be at least 6 months before a verdict is reached in this appeal. Regardless of the outcome we will almost certainly be headed to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

As the Coalition Intervenors we remain committed to pursuing the case and will keep you posted along the way.

Thanks and take good care,Save Canada’s Medicare
British Columbia Health Coalition · 3102 Main St, 302, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, BC V5T 3G7, Canada 

Health Gateway


Health Gateway provides British Columbians with secure access to a single view of much of their health information online. It is accessible by anyone 12 and older with a BC Services Card set up on a mobile device. Included are:

  • Prescription Medications dispensed to you from any BC pharmacy since 1995, (excluding in-hospital prescriptions and many cancer medications)
  • Use the option “Add Notes to Records”. You can add your own notes, dates and comments to your timeline (see Health Visits, below) for instance reactions to prescribed medications or discussions with your doctor. 
  • COVID-19 Test Results 
  • Immunization Records (from public health and community pharmacies)
  • Health Visits: a record of the last 7 years of your health visits, consultations and procedures billed to the Medical Services Plan in BC (MSP). It can be useful to integrate and date your own notes about medical visits to document your symptoms, diagnoses and treatments.
  • Lab Results (Coming soon)

Taking care of your mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you’re in crisis

If you’re in immediate danger or need urgent medical support, call 911.

If you’re experiencing gender-based violence, you can access a crisis line in your province or territory.

You may also access support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls by texting WELLNESS to:

  • 686868 for youth
  • 741741 for adults

For a wide range of resources and support for Canadians:

Suicide prevention

Crisis Services Canada

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566.

Available to all Canadians seeking support. Visit Crisis Services Canada for the distress centres and crisis organizations nearest you.

For Indigenous peoples

Hope for Wellness Help Line

Call 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free) or connect to the online Hope for Wellness chat.

Available to all Indigenous peoples across Canada who need immediate crisis intervention. Experienced and culturally sensitive help line counsellors can help if you want to talk or are distressed.

Telephone and online counselling are available in English and French. On request, telephone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.

Access programs and services to improve your mental health and help prevent suicide in Indigenous communities.

For youth and young adult

Kids Help Phone

Call 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) or text CONNECT to 686868.

Available 24 hours a day to Canadians aged 5 to 29 who want confidential and anonymous care from professional counsellors.

Download the Always There app for additional support or access the Kids Help Phone website.

Youth mental health links

Access resources for youth on how to protect and improve your mental health.

For parents and guardians

It’s normal for you or your children to feel overwhelmed, stressed, confused, scared or angry during this time. Take time to understand how your child is feeling as well as your own feelings and needs.

For seniors

Older adults may be more likely to experience feelings of isolation that can impact mental health. We’ve put together a list of easily accessible resources to help seniors.

Government of B.C.

Health Link BC

If you have health questions, you can call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C., or if you are deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1 or contact us through Video Relay Services (VRS). Give VRS the number 604-215-5101 to call us. Translation services are available in more than 130 languages. If you have non-health related questions about topics such as child care, travel or business call Service BC at 1-888-268-4319.

COVID-19 Self-Assessment and Resources

Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to find out if you or your family members need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. The Self-Assessment Tool is available online or as an App from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. This resource is available 24 hours a day.

You can access your health information online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using Health Gateway. This resource gives you access to your COVID-19 and medical information. It is accessible by anyone 12 and older with a BC Services Card set up on a mobile device.

For resources to support workers, families and businesses of British Columbia during the pandemic, see the Government of B.C.’s COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information page.


Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit – Stigma Free Society

We Have Launched! NEW Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit

March 1, 2021/in Blog /

The Stigma-Free Society is proud to announce the launch of our Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit! Individuals living in rural and agricultural communities across North America are experiencing unique challenges to their mental health. This is where the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit comes in. At The Stigma-Free Society, we are constantly striving to fill the gaps […]

Individuals living in rural and agricultural communities across North America are experiencing unique challenges to their mental health. This is where the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit comes in. At The Stigma-Free Society, we are constantly striving to fill the gaps in mental health resources, provide individuals from all walks of life with the tools they need to improve their mental wellness and work at overcoming stigma.

Visit our NEW Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit HERE!

The information and resources in the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit are directly tailored to those living in rural and agricultural communities.

The extremely interactive Toolkit is broken down into different categories such as:

  • Seniors,
  • Families,
  • Youth,
  • Farmers and more!

The Society provides specialized resources and support for the unique challenges these audiences experience. The Toolkit also provides general mental wellness tips and suggestions that are relevant for anyone living in rural or agricultural communities. We are also launching a Peer Support Program Facilitator Training Program in partnership with Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH where individuals living in these communities act as mental health supports for each other.

Along with our current and new partners, Stigma-Free Society hopes to reach those living in rural and agriculture communities who may be feeling alone in their mental health struggles with the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit.

We hope that by sharing stories, resources and information about mental health, we can begin the process of overcoming the stigma surrounding these issues and serve the needs of those experiencing mental health challenges living in rural and agricultural communities across Canada and beyond.

Whether you live in a rural or agricultural community, or not, we encourage you to take a look at our new toolkit! The resources provided and the stories shared exist to inspire anyone struggling with their mental health or looking to improve their mental wellness.

or click on: We Have Launched! NEW Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit to access.

Request for the inclusion of Physician Assistants into B.C.s primary healthcare – Template Letter

This Template Letter can be used by anyone who would like to call on the B.C. Government to regulate and include Physician Assistants into the province’s health care.

Insert your information, or your organization’s information where the bold/coloured text is


Honourable Adrian Dix 
Minister of Health
PO BOX 9050 
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2 

Use this to find your MLA -> https://www.leg.bc.ca/Pages/BCLASS-Member-Search-PostalCode.aspx 


via email:  HLTH.Minister@gov.bc.ca ADD MLA EMAIL

Dear Minister Dix and MLA ADD LAST NAME,

I/THE ORGANIZATION AM/ARE writing to ask you to regulate and support Physician Assistants in British Columbia. 


The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA), which represents more than 800 certified physician assistants (PAs) across Canada, including more than 25 civilian and military PAs who live in British Columbia (B.C.) and many others who hail from B.C. but live elsewhere in Canada because they are not eligible to practice medicine in their home province, have been calling on the Government of British Columbia to regulate this profession for years, and THE ORGANIZATION/I AM/ARE joining their call.  Now, more than ever, the skills and attributes that PAs have been fully trained to provide can be depended upon to help provide necessary medical care to British Columbians.  

PAs are currently regulated in Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Alberta, with Ontario regulation announced. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis, and lack of medical supports for rural and First Nation peoples, British Columbians need PAs to be regulated and integrated into the healthcare system now.  As an example, residents of Port McNeill (and several other dependent remote outreach communities) are currently experiencing a doctor shortage and the destabilization of primary care.  There are PAs in these jurisdictions ready, but unable to work.  

THE ORGANIZATION/I AM/ARE asking that the Government of British Columbia: 

Introduce PAs. 

  • Establish regulation for PAs in cooperation with the College of Physicians and Surgeons for British Columbia (CPSBC). The CPSBC has indicated that they are supportive and can make the necessary changes quickly.

Invest in PAs in priority areas. 

  • B.C. faces challenges in several areas of health care, especially in rural and remote locations. By funding PA positions, we can help to improve both access to and continuity of care for our most vulnerable populations. 

Develop fair and sustainable compensation models. 

  • This will ensure there is a mechanism for employers to hire PAs.

Train PAs in B.C. 

  • Introduce a training program to help ensure the future supply of PAs to help address the needs of patients.



The situation in B.C.



In the second panel discussion, leaders and practitioners from BC’s CHCs discussed the benefits of the services they provide—and why a bigger role for CHCs in BC holds great potential for patients, providers, diverse communities and for the overall health system:

  • Moderator: Zarghoona Wakil, MOSAIC/Umbrella Multicultural Health Co-op
  • Esther Hsieh, Executive Director at Umbrella Multicultural Health Co-op, New Westminster
  • Edward Staples, Chair of the BC Rural Health Network
  • Grey Showler, President of the BC Association of Community Health Centres and Director of Health and Support Services at Victoria Cool Aid Society


1.   ‘Primary health care’ refers to a system-wide approach to designing health services based on primary care as the first point of contact in a system with a focus on addressing the social determinants of health and reducing avoidable disparities in health outcomes between different groups in society. A large body of evidence demonstrates that primary care is the foundation of an effective, efficient and high-performing health care system.

‘Primary care’ refers to the clinical level of primary health care, which should serve as the first point of contact with the health care system and where the majority of health problems are identified, treated and where other health and social care services can be mobilized and coordinated to prevent illness and support wellness.

2.   Office of the Auditor General of Ontario (2017), Community Health Centres (3.03), p.189. All other primary care models are funded directly by the Ontario Ministry of Health/Ontario Health Insurance Plan. It is also worth noting that each CHC has an accountability agreement with their LHIN. Other primary care models do not have accountability agreements because non-CHC physicians are remunerated by the Ontario Ministry of Health/Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

3.   The only budget line that the clinic cannot change is the number of practitioners (i.e. physicians and/or physicians and nurse practitioners). But in most CHCs, these practitioners represented a minority of their total budget allocation.

4.   See also: Daniel Muzyka (2012), The Inconvenient Truth about Canadian Health CareConference Board of Canada; Marcy Cohen (2014), How Can We Create a Cost-Effective System of Primary and Community Care Built Around Interdisciplinary Teams? Submission to the Select Standing Committee on Health, Vancouver: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives—BC Office; and Andrew Longhurst (2018, Jan. 15), How (and how much) doctors are paid in BC: why it mattersPolicy Note, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives—BC Office.

5.   The 2012 study concluded that “CHCs stood out in their care of disadvantaged and sicker populations and had substantially lower ED visit rates than expected” (p. iv).

6.   Slides prepared by Adrianna Tetley (Executive Director, Alliance for Healthier Communities) show that the portion of CHC patients with a serious mental illness is more than twice that of other primary care models in Ontario.

7.   The 2017 Ontario Auditor General’s report references articles from 2015 suggesting that CHCs had higher rates of hospital readmissions and emergency visits, but unlike the Glazier et al. 2012 study, the Conference Board research does take into account patient complexity (see Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, 2017, p. 194).

8.   A large of body evidence shows that people with lower incomes have worse health outcomes, higher rates of chronic conditions and lower life expectancies. Chronic conditions account for nearly 67 per cent of health care costs in Canada (Provincial Health Services Authority (2011), Towards Reducing Health Inequities: A Health System Approach to Chronic Disease Prevention. A Discussion Paper.

9.   In other primary care models, often referred to as patient enrolment models (i.e. capitation) physicians are paid for the number of patients enrolled with their practices and for a predetermined basket of services. In the Ontario patient enrolment model there is no adjustment for the differences in the complexity of health needs among different patient populations, and as a consequence, there is nothing to guard against practices favouring a patient population with lower complexity.

10.   Ontario’s ‘family health teams’ (one of the province’s primary care models) is the only other model that is required to develop and submit quality improvement plans to Health Quality Ontario (the provincial agency that supports health care quality improvement).

11.   This work was coordinated through the Alliance for Healthier Communities (previously the Ontario Association of Community Health Centres).

12.   See, for example, the BC Medical Association’s (now called Doctors of BC) opposition to alternatives to fee-for-service compensation including the population-based capitation model: BC Medical Association (1995), Capitation: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? Vancouver: BCMA.