Public Health Association of BC Public Health Association of BC


Building a Sustainable Health in the 21st Century

Public Health Association of Quebec – Position_Statement_building_sustainable_health.pdf

Reducing Surgical Wait Times

The Case for Public Innovation and Provincial Leadership

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Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Attorney General Wilson-Raybould

Sec 43 of the Criminal Code allows the physical punishment of children.  Assaulting children is no longer a normal or acceptable way to raise children. It has never been an effective long-term parenting strategy, and can lead to significant harm.

To view full letter

Priority Health Equity Indicators for BC

Overall, British Columbians are among the healthiest people in the world yet good health is not evenly distributed across our province.  We know that about 75% of our overall health is determined by social factors such as working or living conditions, income, and educational opportunities. These factors affect the rates of chronic disease and injury, contributing to health inequity or unfair differences in health and wellbeing for people of different groups.  Research has shown that the lower a person’s socio-economic position, the higher his or her risk of poor health. Early adversity may be overcome by later improvements in social circumstances, however early experiences can leave a person more vulnerable to poor health later in life.  Health inequities have significant social and economic costs to individuals and to society as a whole.

The direct health system costs associated with providing care to a sicker and more disadvantaged population are substantial. These costs are dwarfed by the indirect costs of health inequities, such as lost productivity, lost tax revenue, absenteeism, family leave, and disability or premature death.

We are putting forward a snapshot of some current health inequities in BC and hoping to spark conversation about the value of this kind of information and the information needed to inform policy and practice.  Through a consensus process 52 equity indicators were identified. This report analyzes data for 16 of the 52 equity-related indicators across various population groups and sociodemographic and geographic dimensions. Collectively, this data begins to show patterns of inequity across the lifecourse, from early childhood and adolescence through to adulthood. As these patterns begin to emerge over time, we can start to understand which groups of people are being left behind, even
as the average British Columbian continues to live alonger and healthier life.

As you read this report, I hope you will consider:

„ How you could use these findings in your work?
„„ What more is needed to monitor trends on health inequity?
„„ What would be helpful in creating action on promoting health equity?

Please send us your thoughts, ideas andperspectives on the questions we have posed. You
can write to us directly at

Together, we all play a role in creating the right conditions and opportunities to support individuals and populations to reach their full potential for health.
Lydia Drasic
Executive Director, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Operations and Chronic Disease Prevention, BCCDC and Provincial Health Services Authority

TO view the full report visit:

Priority health equity indicators for BC

New Rules for Shared Prosperity: A Framework for Reducing Poverty, Socioeconomic Inequities and Climate Change

This document was prepared by Dr J Millar for the consideration of the Policy, Advocacy and Research Committee (PARC) of the Public Health Association of BC –Nov.21, 2015

The purpose of this paper is to provide a focus for discussion leading to the development of a framework for a policy and action agenda for PHABC advocacy in pursuit of improved and more equitable population health and social justice.

Executive Summary

Socioeconomic (SE) inequities in Canada are increasing and an unacceptable level of poverty persists. Wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of the elite (the 1%). This leads to poorer population health, increased healthcare expenditures, a slower economy, environmental degradation, climate change, the erosion of democracy and the increasing likelihood of social unrest.

When the market mechanism fails there is a need for effective government intervention. The role of government in restoring a market-based economy that leads to more equitably shared prosperity is to provide some level of redistribution of income and wealth through taxes, transfers and stimulus spending. At the same time government can use policy and regulatory levers to ‘nudge’ a cultural change in the business sector that can achieve ‘predistribution’ – more equitable employment income and more responsibility for population health and environmental sustainability.

While the culture in the business community over the past century has been predominantly characterized by a focus on growth, profits and shareholder value, a number of business leaders and organizations are speaking out about the failure of the market economy in its present form.  Current practices have resulted in increasing socio-economic inequity, poverty and climate change. The good news is such transformative change is occurring in the business culture. With the leadership of progressive businesses and academic leaders, business culture is evolving so that not only shareholders and executives benefit from a successful enterprise but also employees and the entire value chain (suppliers, distributors, energy and resource use, employee health and safety, environmental impact) share more equitably in wealth and prosperity.

PHABC looks forward to working with progressive elements in our governments and business communities to look beyond the bottom line and make progress toward ‘shared value’ as the basis for ‘regenerative capitalism[1],[2].

Governmental interventions

Tax policies: (potentially federal and provincial governments)

  1. Increase the top marginal income tax rate
  2. Tax all income sources fairly and equally including capital gains and dividends
  3. Introduce wealth and inheritance taxes
  4. Tax socially harmful products and practices (carbon tax, polluter pays, tobacco, alcohol, sugar, etc.)
  5. Reform tax incentives and subsidies that incentivize fossil fuel consumption and instead incentivize innovation that is environmentally sustainable and supports the creation of healthy products

Employment policies for all levels of government:

  1. Living wage for all employees – direct and out-sourced
  2. Equal pay for equal work
  3. Employee health – parental, mental health leave provisos, personal development, education


Social and physical infrastructure interventions:

  1. Increase welfare rates, EI rates, the Working Income Tax Benefit, the Child Tax Benefit and the GIS for seniors
  2. Universal public affordable quality child care
  3. Improvements in education primary through post-secondary
  4. Improvements in health care
  5. More social housing, end homelessness
  6. Invest in sustainable energy – including electrical grid improvements, sustainable energy sources
  7. Better public transit
  8. Improved communications
  9. Sewage and water system maintenance
  • Environmental protection and restoration

Institutional development

  1. A national poverty reduction plan (including BC, the only province without a plan)
  2. Sovereign wealth funds to raise public revenue and sustainably manage natural resources

‘Nudging’ the business sector:

  1. Reducing exorbitant CEO/executive compensation
  2. Controlling stock buybacks
  3. Providing for labour representation on corporate boards

Transformation of the business sector.

The business sector, for the most part, continues to be exclusively focussed on growth, profits and increasing shareholder value. This is a long tradition and unlikely to change quickly. But change is occurring and with the leadership of progressive businesses and academic leaders that look beyond the bottom line, there is some progress in evolving toward ‘shared value’ as the basis for ‘regenerative capitalism’.

To view full paper





Okanagan Charter – International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges


The purpose of the Charter is threefold:

1. Guide and inspire action by providing a framework that reflects the latest concepts, processes and principles relevant to the Health Promoting Universities and Colleges movement, building upon advances since the 2005 Edmonton Charter.2

2. Generate dialogue and research that expands local, regional, national and international networks3 and accelerates action on, off and between campuses.

3. Mobilize international, cross-sector action for the integration of health in all policies and practices, thus advancing the continued development of health promoting universities and colleges.

The Charter has two Calls to Action for higher education institutions:

1. Embed health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates.

2. Lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.

To view the full document visit: Okanagan Charter