New Healthy Public Policy Speaker Series explores policy ideas for creating improved health and well-being in B.C. communities

In collaboration with a selection of local and Indigenous government partners, BC Healthy Communities (BCHC) is launching a new speaker series to bring fresh ideas for healthy public policy to local and Indigenous government leaders in B.C.

This year, one of the focus areas of BCHC’s PlanH program is the importance of developing Healthy Public Policy at the local government level. Rather than directly addressing physical health or health care provision, these policies make changes to living conditions—such as housing, transportation and income—in order to improve a community's overall health and well-being. As a part of these improved health and well-being outcomes, healthy public policies also positively impact issues directly within local government purview, including community safety, local economic activity, social service delivery, and sustainability. 

So far in 2021, PlanH has devoted a dedicated grant stream to support Healthy Public Policy and developed a new Healthy Public Policy page for the Take Action section of the PlanH website, including ideas for action in this area from leading communities across the province. Now, we're excited to present our new Local Government Leaders Speaker Series, focusing on Creating Healthy Public Policy. 

In this series, healthy public policy leaders from local and Indigenous governments across the province discuss one policy implemented by their government, reflecting on why the policy was chosen, the implementation process, and the impacts they've seen as a result of adopting the policy. Designed for elected officials and staff in decision-making roles, each event in the series provides participants with the opportunity to explore whether a similar policy fits their community's needs, and to consider the next steps needed to advance action towards adopting such a policy. 

Part I: Living Wage Policies

Part I of the series, Living Wage Policies, is now available for on-demand viewing. This session will explore the City of Victoria’s experience in adopting a Living Wage policy in 2020. Living Wage policies have been enacted by 10 governments across the province, ranging from major metropolitan cities to smaller rural and Indigenous governments. These policies align minimum wages in an organization with the actual costs of living in a specific community.

Speakers: 

  • Jodi Jensen, Head of Human Resources, City of Victoria 

  • Anastasia French, Campaigns and Operations Organiser, Living Wage for Families Campaign 

View the recording of this event here. Future events covering topics including land use and housing policies, anti-racism policies, and Indigenous representation policies are slated for August, October and November 2021. More information on each event will be posted to this page once it's available.

Part II: Affordable Housing Land Acquisition Strategies

Part II of the series, Affordable Housing Land Acquisition Strategies, takes place August 11 at 11am Pacific. This session looks at Kelowna's experience developing a strategy to support the acquisition of land that can be used for affordable housing. Housing affordability is a key issue for many local governments across the province, and its impacts can be felt across a community through secondary impacts such as homelessness, labour shortages, strained transportation networks, hampered local economic development and diminished participation in civic life. Many communities in B.C. are exploring the use of land acquisition strategies to proactively respond to these challenges, guide decision-making and help create property portfolios that lend themselves to the community’s strategic priorities and goals.

Speakers:

  • James Moore, Long Range Policy Planning Manager

  • Arlene Janousek, Planner with the City of Kelowna

Learn more and register here >>

The Local Government Leaders Speaker Series focusing on Creating Healthy Public Policy is supported through PlanH, a partnership between BC Healthy Communities Society and the BC Ministry of Health and is informed by health authorities and other stakeholders. PlanH creates healthier communities by supporting partnerships across sectors, providing learning opportunities, resources, and consultation, and facilitating collaborative local action.