BC Alliance for Healthy Living Society – Executive Director


Executive Director

Vancouver, BC


Employment: Contract position to March 31 2019 with option for renewal.

Hours: Flexible 3 – 4 days / week if preferred

Location: #310 – 1212 West Broadway, Vancouver


About the BC Alliance for Healthy Living Society (BCAHL)


The BC Alliance for Healthy Living is a registered not‐for‐profit society that first came together  in 2003 with a vison to improve the health of British Columbians. BCAHL’s mission is “to  improve the health of all British Columbians through leadership and collaboration to address  the risk factors and health inequities that contribute significantly to chronic disease.”

The BC Alliance for Healthy Living is an alliance in the truest sense – the leaders of some of the  province’s largest and most influential health organizations make up the representatives that  govern BCAHL and determine strategic priorities and directions.  The membership includes: BC  Healthy Communities Society, BC Lung Association, BC Pediatric Society, BC Recreation and  Parks Association, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division; Canadian Mental Health  Association, BC Division; Diabetes Canada, Dietitians of Canada, BC Region, Heart and Stroke  Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon; Public Health Association of BC, Union of BC Municipalities,  and YMCA of Greater Vancouver.

BCAHL advances health promoting policies, programs and environments that support the
physical and mental well‐being of British Columbians.  Since 2005, BCAHL has provided  oversight for over $35M in health promotion programming. These initiatives have affected tens  of thousands of British Columbians reaching across BC– from the far north Daylu Dena Council  near Lower Post to Sooke in the southwest to Sparwood in the southeast of the province. As an  advocacy group, we work with government and hold them accountable to promote wellness  and prevent chronic disease.

To learn more about BCAHL please visit


Position Overview


The Executive Director reports to a provincial level Board of Directors and serves to provide advice and  recommendations on strategic directions for the Alliance and works closely with the Board on setting  strategic priorities. The ED has the delegated responsibility for all operational functions within the limits  defined in policy and in accordance with an annually approved Business Plan.

The ED’s major responsibilities include governance, advocacy, administration, communications, external  relations, fundraising, financial management and human resources.

The ED represents BCAHL and serves as liaison to government and other external groups and provides  information as appropriate to BCAHL partners and governments on BCAHL’s activities and current
policy positions.

The ED is expected to develop strategic plans and proposals for potential future roles and projects which  might be undertaken by BCAHL, as well as for future policy positions. This requires engagement of key  stakeholders in collaborative annual and long‐term planning to increase the organization’s impact.

The ED ensures the financial sustainability of the organization, seeks out new funding opportunities and  manages key funder relationships. Supervises two staff (Manager of Advocacy and Communications and  Administration Manager) and other consultants as required.

Currently, the ED is also responsible for the oversight of the implementation of the Physical Activity  Strategy for Children and Youth grant from the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Ministry and  the executing agencies.


Required skills and knowledge


  • Master’s degree or equivalent in public health, health promotion and health administration or a  related area.
  • A minimum of seven years of senior management experience including two to four years’
    experience in multi‐organizational project management.
  • Strong leadership skills with a proven record of effective organizational development.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with a governing body as well as fostering strong relationships with  senior leaders in government and not‐for‐profit sectors.
  • Commitment to health promotion and solid knowledge of chronic disease prevention and health equity.
  • Proven track record of successful government relations and experience in policy‐making and advocacy.
  • Familiarity with current policy issues in health promotion and ability to see opportunities to align  with government priorities, cultivate internal champions and build political support.
  • Understanding of financial management best practices and nonprofit and charitable regulatory
  • Demonstrated ability to implement successful fundraising strategies and manage key funder relationships.
  • Excellent written, speaking and presentation skills and exceptional interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to show initiative and ingenuity.
  • Skill with managing competing priorities and divergent interests of stakeholders.
  • Able to make challenging decisions respectfully and effectively.
  • Experience providing guidance, support and constructive feedback to motivate staff and achieve  organizational objectives.
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, presentation and decision‐making skills. Tact and good  judgment required.



Salary is negotiable.  Benefits include paid vacation starting at three weeks per year plus time off during  the annual office closure between Christmas and New Year’s.

Application Information: 

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter outlining their relevant experience and  interest in the position to BC Alliance for Healthy Living Society, 310 ‐ 1212 West Broadway, Vancouver,  BC V6H 3V2 or email to

Application deadline is Wednesday January 31, 2018.  Only candidates selected for further  consideration will be contacted.  We thank all applicants for their interest.



Call for Papers: Why Public Health Matters Today

Exploring the health, social, economic, political and other value of population and public health

The Canadian Journal of Public Health invites submissions to a special section on Why public health matters today that explore, and provide evidence for, the value of public health to Canada today. We encourage a range of contributions, including: health, social, economic and political analyses; rigorous commentaries containing cogent/robust analysis; research informed by a range of theoretical perspectives; work that explores the value of public health for various communities; and research conducted at local, regional, provincial and national levels. We also welcome international studies that would be relevant to Canada, as we believe Canada has much to learn from other countries.

Deadline for full manuscript submissions: 1 June 2018

Anticipated publication: Early 2019

Please consult the complete call for papers for details.

CPHA Online Survey – Open until December 15th, 2017


Online survey: Understanding professional development needs related to sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs), sexual health and harm reduction in Canada

Are you a health or social service provider? If so, CPHA is interested in hearing from you about your learning and professional development needs related to sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs), sexual health and harm reduction. Our online survey should take between 10-15 minutes to complete and all responses will be kept confidential. This survey will help inform the work of CPHA and its many community partners and ensure that its sexual health, harm reduction and STBBI related professional development tools and resources are responsive to service providers’ needs.

Sondage en ligne: Comprendre les besoins de développement professionnel liés aux infections transmissibles sexuellement et par le sang (ITSS), à la santé sexuelle et à la réduction des méfaits au Canada

Vous dispensez des services sociaux ou de santé? Si oui, l’ACSP aimerait connaître vos besoins d’apprentissage et de développement professionnel en lien avec les infections transmissibles sexuellement et par le sang (ITSS), la santé sexuelle et la réduction des méfaits. Notre sondage en ligne prend de 10 à 15 minutes à remplir, et toutes les réponses resteront confidentielles. Les résultats du sondage viendront éclairer le travail de l’ACSP et de ses nombreux partenaires associatifs pour que leurs outils et ressources de développement professionnel sur la santé sexuelle, la réduction des méfaits et les ITSS répondent aux besoins des dispensateurs de services.


PlaceSpeak and the Healthy Corporate Citizen Award

PlaceSpeak has received the Public Health Association of British Columbia (PHABC) Healthy Corporate Citizen Award. The platform was nominated for its ability to empower ordinary citizens from across the province to engage with pressing issues in a way that legitimizes their concerns and ideas, allowing people to make meaningful contributions to their communities.

In the lead-up to the 2017 BC provincial election, the PHABC conducted a consultation on the future of public health in BC. British Columbians were invited to provide input into public health issues affecting the province and share ways that they would amplify public health issues to candidates during the election. Participants could engage by taking a survey or a poll and contributing to a discussion forum.

PlaceSpeak’s unique geo-verification technology allowed the PHABC to better understand the different needs and priorities of the public across BC’s 85 electoral districts. By gaining a more nuanced understanding of public opinion, the PHABC is better positioned to advocate on behalf of specific issues and concerns in different regions of the province.

“PlaceSpeak is an essential utility for decision-makers in today’s digital ecology. The Public Health Association of BC is committed to public engagement on health and social policies,” said Shannon Turner, Executive Director of PHABC. “Authenticated data is mission critical, and PlaceSpeak supports that commitment. We are so pleased to acknowledge their leadership in growing community voices and Canada’s democracy.”

PlaceSpeak has also been used to help shape public health guidelines and ensure that standards meet the needs of physicians and patients. Earlier in 2017, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) used PlaceSpeak to consult with the public on their experiences with walk-in clinics and referrals to specialists.

“The ability to engage with people online within specific boundaries in an authentic way lends itself particularly well to the area of public health,” says PlaceSpeak CEO, Colleen Hardwick. “PlaceSpeak helps decision-makers better understand the unique needs of each region to support healthy, vibrant communities.”

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!

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.