Author: Christina

Annual General Meeting – Agenda, Award Recipients & Year end

On Thursday November 16th 2017 we will be holding our annual general meeting. Please see below for the agenda to be discussed along with the annual reports from all our committees and this year’s award recipients.

2017 AGM Agenda

2017 Annual Committee Report

2017 Award Recipients

Conference 2017- Program Schedule-at-a-glance RELEASED!

Facing a Changing World

Transformative Leadership & Practice


It has been an insanely busy few weeks for us here at the Public Health Association of BC, but we are excited to announce the release of our conference program at a glance! This year’s conference, Facing a Changing World: Transformative Leadership and Practice,” will give delegates the opportunity to attend plenary sessions, oral presentations, poster presentations and workshops where they will learn about transformative leadership and practice through a variety of subtopics (including Child & Youth Health, Immigrant & Refugee Health, Indigenous Health, and Healthy Built Environment-Planetary Health).

Other presentations, including a plenary session with MHO’s from around the province, will focus on the current public health emergency in BC including what is needed to address the opioid overdose crisis and how we can use transformative leadership and practice to create innovative solutions.

Check out the schedule of events below or go to our events page for the most up to date conference information. Be sure to register soon to secure your spot at BC’s premier public health event of the season!

School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) – Physiotherapist



Applications are invited from qualified individuals for the following position in School District 8 (Kootenay Lake).  Application packages must contain a current resume with 3 current professional references.  The awarded applicant must have a criminal reference check performed through the School District.

This position is an integral part of a progressive and multidisciplinary team approach and works out of the Nelson School Board Office. The position serves schools in the communities of Nelson, Kaslo, Salmo and Slocan Valley.

The awarded applicant will provide direct and consultative school-aged service, as well as preventative and educational programs.


 Required Qualifications:

Bachelor of Science or higher in physical therapy or equivalent.

  • Preference will be given to those with previous pediatric experience
  • Registration (or eligibility for registration) with the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • The ability to communicate effectively with  students, teachers, educational assistants, principals, and parents is essential to the success of this position
  • Valid B.C. Driver’s License and vehicle as travel throughout the school district is required.


For further information regarding this position, please contact Ben Eaton, Director of Independent Learning Services at 250-505-7053 or


Check out what our District and Surrounding Area has to offer:

The Opportunity

Nelson is a vibrant community of approximately 10,000 people that serves as the cultural, educational, economic, government and health care hub for approximately 25,000 people. Some residents chose to live in a lovely Heritage home within blocks of lively Baker Street. Others choose the expansive lake and mountain views from the top of the city. Some prefer to live along the lake or in rural acreages with creeks and room for hobby farms.

Whitewater Ski Resort is consistently lauded by Powder Magazine, Skiing and the New York Times as having some of the lightest, deepest powder on the planet.


Set along the shores and on the mountains overlooking Kootenay Lake, our mountain bike trails are literally world-famous.


We are situated in the midst of multiple golf courses with stunning lake and mountain vistas. We have a beautifully restored performing arts theatre, many live music venues, children’s theatre productions and opportunities for post-secondary education at Kootenay School of the Arts, Selkirk College Music Programme and Selkirk’s trades programs. Our numerous restaurants, coffee shops, artisan bakeries, and breweries are run by superb chefs, roasters, bakers, and brew meisters. Nelson is a hub for numerous budding and established technology companies. In short, we live here because we love this place and the people who have chosen Nelson to be their home.


This posting is ongoing until filled.  Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Please apply on line

BC Needs an OPIOID ACTION PLAN: Open Letter to the Government of BC

Click here to see the complete, signed letter

October 30th, 2017

Open Letter to the Government of British Columbia:



Since April, 2016 when the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths was declared a ‘Public Health Emergency’ by the Provincial Health Officer for BC, a new government has been elected. A Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions has been created with a Minister appointed to lead the development of a response to the opioid issue with a $325 million budget.

The causes of this epidemic are complex:

  • Large numbers of individuals and families with inadequate income, housing, food, employment, social supports, etc. who are living with hopelessness, stress and despair and dying more frequently from opioids, other drugs, alcohol, tobacco and violence.
  • The promotion of opioids by pharmaceutical companies for pain relief and the willingness of physicians to prescribe them, coupled with inadequate resources for mental health, addiction treatment and non-opioid pain relief.
  • Opioid and other substance use as self-medication for relief from stress and the effects of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
  • Street drug supplies in which fentanyl and analogues are ubiquitous and inconsistently mixed so that lethal doses are unavoidable. Fentanyl was detected in 80% of recent overdose deaths in BC.


While not all people who use drugs come from a background of deprivation, opioid addiction frequently begins and ends in desperation: homelessness, poverty, unemployment, crime, chronic poor mental and physical health, chronic physical and emotional pain and an untimely death. Therefore the broad issues of poverty, homelessness, food security, education, early childhood and youth development, employment and the other social determinants of health (SDOH) must be addressed in the plan.

We recommend a public health approach to this challenge: a comprehensive review of the issue and the generation of strategic interventions addressing the multiple causal factors.

In BC, we have a crisis: in Europe a rate of 2 overdose deaths/100,000 population /yr. is considered ‘a major crisis’ 1, the US is considered to have the highest overdose death rates in the world2 at about 20/100,0003; BC is at 31/100,0004 and Vancouver at 57/100,0004, about   4-5 overdose deaths/day. (Vancouver is the epicentre for Canada; in the US, hotspots like Virginia have death rates as high as 90/100,000). “BC continues to experience unprecedented…overdose deaths and more action is needed5.


Now we need a BC OPIOID ACTION PLAN to urgently address this crisis based on the following:

  • Destigmatize & decriminalize drug use and addiction – people dependent on drugs should be treated with the same dignity and respect as patients suffering from any other chronic illness requiring clinical care (e.g. diabetes, heart disease), regardless of race, gender or age.
  • Security – Provide people who are dependent on opioids with pharmaceutical opioids as part of the medical treatment of opioid addiction so they don’t have to self-medicate with illicit street drugs contaminated with toxic ingredients; and they are brought into a comprehensive, secure and supportive therapeutic clinical setting as described below.
  • Economics – it is cheaper to treat opioid addiction with appropriate clinical care and SDOH supports than to leave patients untreated, leading to much higher expenditures related to crime, violence, policing, courts, jails, prison, ambulances, ER visits, hospitalizations and so forth. Some estimates calculate about $35,000 per patient/year for treatment vs. as much as $100,000 per patient/yr. left untreated.

Coordinated action will be needed by all levels of government (federal, provincial and municipal) with/by Health Authorities:

The following actions are presented to be consistent with the 4 Pillars in the new Canadian Drug and Substances Strategy6 :


Pillar 1: Prevention

Given that opioid addiction is a ‘disease of despair’ coordinated action is needed by all levels of government to address the SDOH (poverty and homelessness, etc.) and socioeconomic inequity through strategies with legislated goals, budgets and timelines.


Pillar 2: Harm Reduction

Many of these actions have been initiated but need expansion:

  • Make Naloxone more available: ‘take home’ supplies and the expanded use of nasal spray format (for first responders uncomfortable with injections).
  • Explore and evaluate drug checking programs to establish the evidence for drug checking as an intervention to prevent overdoses and deaths.
  • Expand the availability of supervised consumption (injection) services (SCS) for those continuing to use illicit street drugs.
  • Explore, legislate and institute permanent Overdose Prevention Service (OPS) models, especially in settings which do not have the resources for full SCS.
  • Expand the availability of non-opioid pain care services (non-opioid medications, myofascial release treatment, etc.)7.


Pillar 3: Opioid Addiction Treatment

  • Develop comprehensive, integrated opioid addiction treatment centres staffed with addictions specialists that include:
    • Baseline care with options for injectable or oral pharmaceutical opioids, including Suboxone, methadone, diacetylmorphine (heroin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and oral slow release morphine. Experience has shown that for most patients, Suboxone or methadone will meet their needs, but for a small minority these other options are required. Oral opioid antagonists such as naltrexone may also be considered. As these medications will be prescribed by physicians with addictions training, clinical judgement will ensure that the most cost-effective and appropriate medication will be prescribed.

This approach is recommended for several reasons:

  • The provision of pharmaceutical opioids in a therapeutic setting has been shown in a number of jurisdictions to virtually eliminate infectious diseases (hepatitis and HIV) and overdose deaths related to opioid use (as patients are no longer consuming illicit street drugs contaminated with toxic materials such as fentanyl or infectious agents).
  • To maximize the goal of replacing the toxic illicit drug market as the primary source for people not yet in addiction treatment, pilot and evaluate several low threshold Public Health Access to Safer Opioids programs delivered through a wider array of points of service including clinics, community health centres and harm reduction programs.
  • When pharmaceutical opioids are widely available, the criminal street market is largely eliminated and much public expenditure avoided.
  • And when brought into a secure, supportive therapeutic setting these patients can be supported with SDOH interventions, counselling and so forth as below.
  • SDOH supports for individual patients: income, housing, food, social support, education and others.
  • Integrated primary health care for treating co-morbidities (mental illness, chronic pain, hepatitis, HIV, cardiovascular disease, diabetes) and other addictions (alcohol, tobacco).
  • Counselling and psychosocial supports (e.g. 12 steps) and supportive residential care to enable transition from opioid treatment with heroin, hydromorphone, etc. to methadone or Suboxone and, when possible, to abstinence.
  • Training and education for employment such as peer counselling or as appropriate to past education, training and work experience.
  • For some, eventual abstinence and return to family, community and work.


Pillar 4: Enforcement

Possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use should be decriminalized.  Treating people as criminals contributes to their ongoing stigmatization and leads to social isolation and solo drug use without supportive peers and access to naloxone and other emergency measures and thus contributes to the epidemic of opioid deaths. Decriminalization can be implemented more quickly through local police procedural change and does not need the lengthy legal and legislative processes to achieve legalization of opioids.

  • Opioid addiction treatment should be made available in all Corrections facilities.


The development of pain care and opioid addiction treatment teams will take some time and budget and will be best developed through a ‘collective impact’ approach at the local community level with funding from the Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions. Many of the Harm Reduction actions can be implemented quickly and help to immediately save lives. Developing poverty reduction and homelessness strategies will take more time but are of paramount importance to the long term solution of opioid addiction.

The above actions need to be supported by a better system of data collection, linkage, analysis, sharing and reporting, that allows the tracking (anonymous) of the therapeutic progress of patients (as has been done for HIV patients) so that the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions can be assessed. This will be critical to an evaluation plan that includes clinical outcomes, destigmatization measures and cost-effectiveness of programs to drive continuous quality improvement.

We are encouraged by the steps already taken by the BC and federal governments and BC Health Authorities and stand ready to assist in any way to quickly develop and implement an OPIOID ACTION PLAN.





Dr. Gord Miller, President

Public Health Association of BC


Trish Garner, Community Organizer

Poverty Reduction Coalition


Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator

First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition


Donald MacPherson, Director

Canadian Drug Policy Coalition


Seth Klein, Director

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office


Judy Willows, Board of Directors

Community Legal Assistance Society


Benita Ho, Chair

DTES Neighbourhood House






  1. 7 Countries That Beat an Overdose Crisis. Anderson, K. and Smith, A. The Fix, May 19, 2017.
  2. America Leads the World in Drug Overdose Deaths: data from United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, June, 2017
  3. US National Center for Health Statistics data, June, 2017.
  4. Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC. Coroners Service, Sep 7,2017
  5. Responding to BC’s Opioid Overdose Epidemic. Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions, Sept., 2017
  6. The new Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy. December 12, 2016
  7. Guideline for opioid therapy and chronic non-cancer pain. Busse, JW et al. Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 8, 2017.

Canadian Mental Health Association – Senior Director of Operations


Senior Director of Operations

Vancouver, BC


Do you want to work for a great organization that is all about promoting the mental health and supporting the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness and addiction? Are you a self-motivated individual with broad-based executive leadership and management experience who possesses great interpersonal skills, is very passionate about helping others and has personal experience and affinity for addiction and mental health treatment?  Are you an authentic and collaborative leader who builds rapport quickly and has a bias for action?


If your answer is yes to the above questions then keep on reading!


CMHA, BC Division has an exciting opportunity for an energetic, solutions-focused, strategic leader to oversee the effective functioning of the BC Division office and its progression through growth and change. Under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer, you will ensure the development of a three year operational plan and compliance with the risk management plan.  In addition, you will actualize the vision, mission, mandate, and values of the Association through effective planning and implementation of the priorities established by the Board of Directors. You will also act as a professional advisor to the CEO on specified aspects of the Association’s activities and provide effective liaison between the CEO and the Leadership Team and between the CEO and Provincial CMHA Branch Executive Directors.


What you will bring to CMHA:

We are looking for someone with knowledge associated with CBT evidence-based programs within a self-management context, along with knowledge and skills to work with individuals and groups with varying perspectives and in the area of cross cultural mental health. You will also have experience working within a federated model.


Demonstrated excellence in overseeing multiple projects, strong verbal and written communication skills and excellent relationship building skills are all necessary.


You will have experience in areas such as resource development and media relations, human resources, conflict resolution and negotiations and have the ability to manage and negotiate projects with external partners and/or funders.


Located in downtown Vancouver, we offer a flexible work environment along with a competitive salary and benefits package. There may be occasional periods where work outside normal office hours is required in order to meet program requirements.


Application process


We will consider applications from interested candidates who submit a resume and cover letter describing how you meet the qualifications outlined above. We regret that only short-listed candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview.  Please submit in Word or PDF format no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, November 17, 2017 to


CMHA, BC Division is committed to our workforce reflecting the diversity of the communities within which we work. As such, we encourage applications from persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people, people of all sexual orientations and genders, and others who may contribute to the diversity of our staff. Personal experience with mental illness and or addiction, either through self or a loved one, is an asset.


Located on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples.

School Grant – Expanding Farm to School in BC – Closes December 1

Expanding Farm to School in BC Grant 2017


Farm to School BC (F2SBC) is a school-based initiative that connects K – 12 public, First Nations, and independent schools, communities and local farms, with a goal to ensure that children have access to fresh, local and sustainable foods while at school. Farm to School BC has three core elements: 1) healthy local foods; 2) hands-on learning and; 3) school-community connectedness. The program is supported by the Province of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Services Authority and administered by the Public Health Association of BC (PHABC). Farm to School (F2S) activities may differ by school, but are always directed towards a common goal- more healthy local foods on the plates, minds and bellies of all students.


Does your school want to (but not limited to):

  • Purchase new refrigeration system for cooking or preservation?
  • Start a salad bar?
  • Buy equipment to support sustainable school-based agriculture practices involving school gardens, micro green system, or other forms of cultivating food?
  • Take students out on field trips to your local farmer’s market, farms and other agriculture-based settings to educate students about our local food environment?
  • Plant native plants, build medicine wheels, harvest traditional foods, and connect with elders and knowledge keepers?


Apply for our grant!

F2SBC 2017 Expansion Grant Application Form



Eligibility criteria

  • Must be a K- 12 public, first Nations or independent school located in BC (If you are from a school in Vancouver School Board, please apply for Think&EatGreen@School Small Grant Application 2017-18)
  • Demonstrate willingness to partner and collaborate with the local organizations, and community members to strengthen the F2S Team (see question 8).
  • Commitment to a working team of at least 3 people to build and expand the Farm to School program at your respective school.


Exclusion criteria

  • If you are currently holding another active Farm to School grant, you are not eligible to receive this grant (i.e., Farm to School Grant 2016, Farm to Cafeteria’s Salad Bar Grant).


To apply

Complete the application form and email it to



Applications must be received no later than Friday, December 1, 2017 at 11:59pm PST. Schools will be notified about the status of their application by Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Please direct any questions you have to


For more information about our program, please visit our website at: To read short stories from previous recipients of Farm to School grants, please go to: