Ministry of Health Launches Public Health Plan for BC

On March 27th, the Ministry of Health released the document Promote, Protect, Prevent: Our Health Begins Here- BC's Guiding Framework for Public Health (previously known as the Public Health Plan). This document aims to improve the health and wellness of British Columbians by creating a long-term vision for the public health system.

The long-term vision incorporates:
  • all pre-existing major public health strategies;
  • formalizes a collaborative process to identify future public health priorities;
  • reinforces core public health functions as the foundation for public health services;
  • supports a population health approach and the public health role in health equity; and,
  • connects to and supports self care, primary care, and clinical prevention.
The Province has indicated that over the next few weeks, a landing page will be developed so that the Guiding Framework and accompanying Reference Guide are available from the Ministry homepage.

In the consultation process, local governments expressed several concerns, including the proposed role and responsibility of local governments in public health, the suggested actions for local governments in each of the seven goal areas, and that many local governments do not have the capacity to address public health in their communities.

In response to these concerns, Assistant Deputy Minister Arlene Paton has advised that the plan does not “prescribe or transfer responsibilities to local government, nor does it hold them accountable to achieve performance measures. The implementation of any new public health programs will be done in collaboration with necessary partners so that capacity and resource issues can be identified and addressed wherever possible”. She also noted that local governments would be engaged if there were any potential impact prior to the implementation phases.

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