Social well-being is a significant component of overall health and well-being. The homes we live in play a substantial role in shaping our mental and social well-being, and the way we design homes can promote—or impede—social connectedness, inclusion and trust between neighbours.[i][ii] To guide the implementation of their Official Community Plan, the Township of Esquimalt is developing a set of policy guidelines for the design of low-rise multi-family (or “missing middle”) housing, with the aim of enhancing the social well-being of those living in these housing types.
In the last six years, two local studies have both found that many citizens of the Lower Mainland experience loneliness and isolation. Social isolation is a serious health risk in communities; in fact, engaging in a social activity such as joining a club can reduce a persons’ chance of death by 50% in the first year—the same impact as quitting smoking.
Each Regional Health Authority across BC uses a slightly different approach for healthy communities work. Read more about how each Regional Health Authority works alongside local governments to build healthy communities, including a breakdown of the process, a case study, and information on how to collaborate with your health authority to achieve your community's health and well-being goals.
New Westminster, a community of 70,000 in Metro Vancouver, is a leader in social justice and equity. In 2011, they became the first city in Canada to adopt a living wage policy. In 2016, they formally adopted a Community Poverty Reduction Strategy, and over the next few years, as part of their Envision 2032 process, they will work towards creating a social equity policy.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) serves 25% of British Columbia’s population, or over 1 million people, across Greater Vancouver and the Coast Garibaldi area. Its coverage area spans urban settings like Vancouver and Richmond, as well as rural communities on the central coast like Bella Bella, and includes 14 Indigenous communities.
Northern Health is committed to partnering with local governments across northern BC to support them in working with their unique capacities and strengths as they build healthier communities. Find out who NH is, how they focus their partnerships, what resources and services they provide, and read a case study—Northern Rockies Regional Municipality—showcasing how these partnerships and funding opportunities enhance communities and promote health.
Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 767,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands of the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and the mainland communities north of Powell River. Island Health works in partnership with communities to create conditions that support Islanders to stay physically and mentally healthy. There are many ways Island Health and local governments are working together to enhance the health and wellness of the population through preventative interventions at the community level.
The Interior Health Authority Healthy Communities Initiative uses a Healthy Communities approach, which builds capacity and empowers communities to improve health outcomes by working together to address the social determinants of health. Learn more about how this initiative works, what IH can do for your community, and how they successfully partnered with Kamloops to create a revamped Official Community Plan that prioritizes community members’ health and well-being.
Fraser Health (FH) delivers health services to more than 1.8 million people in the Lower Mainland, from White Rock and Burnaby east to Hope and Boston Bar. A diverse health authority with urban centres and rural communities, FH also has an association with 32 different bands that serve more than 38,000 members of Indigenous communities.
The Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition (OSHLC), with help from the BC Healthy Communities team through the PlanH program, recently completed a transformative strategic planning process that empowered the OSHLC to refocus its priorities to work on issues most important to those in the region.