Community Stories

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.

A photo of the New Westminister skyline from the waterfront. New Westminster is a great example of how the application of an equity lens can improve these social determinants of health. Their ultimate goal is a city without systemic barriers.

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 (NH) delivers health services across the entire northern two-thirds of British Columbia, spanning urban and rural communities from Atlin to Haida Gwaii to Valemount. Despite the vastness of their coverage area, NH 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.

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 (IH) is made up of many diverse communities spanning 215,000 km², each with their own unique health needs.

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.

Community members attend the OSHLC's Food Security Forum in April 2018.

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.

When a community builds a program, they must pay attention to what they build on—foundations matter. Vernon, a city of 40,000 in the Okanagan, knew this well when residents started to transform their city into a Child and Youth Friendly Community in 2017. Vernon sought the best practical and academic advice it could, and found models to emulate from across the European Union and right here in BC.

More than forty stakeholders from the Lower Columbia Region collaborated over a series of workshops to develop a Healthy Communities Plan. Those involved wrote the plan to create additional support for existing and new initiatives, create efficiencies, and engage stakeholders to work towards a common goal. The City of Trail has now adopted it, and other communities will soon follow.

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