State of BC Health

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Your monthly update from the BC Health Coalition

UPDATE Progress report: BC catching up on surgical backlog, yet still lacks a long-term vision for surgical system improvements

Last June, BC Health Coalition members sent a clear message to Health Minister Dix and Premier Horgan: we want public solutions to B.C.’s surgical backlog. In response to the province’s Surgical Renewal Plan, 2966 of you joined us in a letter-writing campaign. Together we called for scaled up public investments in evidence-based system improvements that reduce wait times and build the capacity of our health care system now and for the future.

Eight months into the Surgical Renewal Plan, what assessment can we make? While the government is to be commended for significantly ramping up public operating room hours, there has been a very significant increase in outsourcing surgeries to private, for-profit surgery clinics. These increases address a spcific short-term need but at the cost of our public system's capacity to deal with backlogs in the long-term. In fact,... the BC government is maximizing the number of surgeries performed in these for-profit centres across the province. In the most recent Surgical Renewal Plan update there is no mention of the government scaling up any proven wait time solutions in the public system. READ MORE.

TAKE ACTION Get private companies out of B.C.'s hospitals

Take_Action.pngFrontline hospital workers are critical to quality health care. Cleaning and dietary staff are hospital's first line of defence in the pandemic, keeping hospitals clean and safe. Yet these workers are earning less today than 20 years ago, working for private corporations that profit by paying low wages. The B.C. government has committed to making these hospital services public and reuniting the health care team. Help turn the government's commitments into action. Take action by emailing your MLA to get private companies out of BC hospitals. Read more about the Hospital Employees' Union Make it Public campaign HERE.

OPINION ARRC calls for a paradigm shift in Long Term Care

The BCHC is pleased to endorse the recent report by Action for Reform of Residential Care (AARC), “Improving Quality of Life in Long Term Care—A way forward”. The report calls for a paradigm shift from an institutional model of care to one that supports residents’ quality of life as well as a quality work environment for staff. ARRC, a group of citizens, workers, and researchers with professional and lived experience in senior's care, is committed to working with the Province to reform LTC. They presented their full report to the Ministry of Health this month. You can support them by sharing the report with your network. You can also contact ARRC chair Dr. Penny MacCourt to add your organization to a list of supporters or join their mailing list to stay informed about upcoming calls to action.


Health Sciences Association (they/she)
Labour Co-chair

Edith is the elected co-chair of the BCHC since 2014 and she sits on the steering committee as a representative for her union, Health Sciences Association of BC. She is also an occupational therapist who works in the public health care system at a child development centre with school-aged children and their families. One of Edith’s passions is creating safe and accessible spaces for people to feel a sense of belonging and connection in their community. She and her wife feel grateful to be raising their two small kids in a housing co-op in Port Moody.

Labour Co-chair

Barb is the newly elected labour co-chair for the BCHC. She started her career in health care in 2006 as a Licensed Practical Nurse and is now the President of the Hospital Employees’ Union, representing 50,000 members working in acute, long term care, assisted living, First Nations Health Authority, community health and community social services. Barb has been a strong advocate for public health care through her work in the labour movement, collaborating with community allies like the BCHC and others in her community and nation wide. She and her husband have two grown and independent daughters, and their ‘empty nest’ is in Kamloops which has been home for the last twenty years.

MOSAIC (she/her/hers)
Community Co-chair

Zarghoona is an International Medical Doctor, and has a Master of Public Health from Simon Fraser University. She has experience in healthcare and in the settlement field in BC. Having worked with MOSAIC in various capacities, she currently oversees a large cluster of specialized programs that serve diverse communities and includes various violence prevention programs, specialized settlement and youth services, health promotion programs, and MOSAIC Seniors’ Club.

Zarghoona has been on the board of directors of Umbrella Multicultural Health Coop and is a Committee Member for Collingwood Community Health Centre and BC Health Coalition. Additionally, she is involved in advocacy for innovation in healthcare services to improve the quality and equity of the healthcare system.


  • BC Health Coalition joined with the Canadian Health Coalition and other provincial health coalitions to call for federal leadership in the negotiation of a new Health Accord. Read the January 25 press release HERE or hear BCHC's Usman Mushtaq's take on morning radio HERE.
  • The wave of reports, studies, and papers calling for government action on the crisis in Long Term Care continues. Read the Lancet's article on what COVID-19 has revealed about Canada's care home crisis HERE.

  • The Continuing Care Collective launched its #MakeReveraPublic campaign in December with the release of a new video. You can watch the video HERE.

  • Youth shared their experiences using crystal meth at a community summit in 2020. The dialogue and recommendations for improving the lives of youth meth users is captured in the Side by Side Summit Community Report. Read the Tyee coverage focusing on the harm of stigma HERE.
  • The Ontario Health Coalition was featured in an article about the growth of private virtual health services. Health advocates and primary care providers continue to be concerned by the corporatization and profit happening through the growth of telemedicine. Read the full article HERE.
  • A multidisciplinary group of researchers from across Canada has released a discussion paper introducing a COVID Zero strategy, Building the Canadian Shield. Read CCPA-BC researcher Andrew Longhurst's policy note on COVID Zero HERE.
  • AccessBC is leading a campaign for free prescription contraception in BC. Read more about it and support the campaign HERE.

  • Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond released the findings of her independent investigation into Indigenous-specific discrimination in BC health care last November. Read the summary or full report HERE.

HERE to donate to the BC Health Coalition

Donations by cheque can be made out to BC Health Coalition and mailed to BC Health Coalition 302-3102 Main Street Vancouver BC V5T 3G7.

If you would like to set up monthly donations by cheque, please fill out this Donation Form and mail it in with a void cheque.


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British Columbia Health Coalition · 3102 Main St, 302, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, BC V5T 3G7, Canada
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