Healthy Communities Committee Update

The Healthy Communities Committee oversees health related policy in the context of local government interests. The Committee's primary focus is on health promotion, disease prevention initiatives and policy directions that assist communities to be proactive in addressing community health problems. An update on recent program initiatives is provided below.

Community Paramedicine

In late 2014, the provincial government launched the Community Paramedicine Initiative, which uses paramedics in an expanded role in rural and remote areas of the Province. The goal is to shift away from an existing emphasis on pre-hospital emergency care to a model that includes prevention, health promotion and primary health care. It is a strategy deployed in communities that have limited access to health services, and are seeking to improve health outcomes and reduce unnecessary cost to the system overall. The work of community paramedics would include home visits, blood sugar and blood pressure testing, and seniors care to assist with aging in place. This initiative will create at least 80 net new full-time equivalent positions to support the implementation of community paramedicine programs in BC. UBCM supports this initiative as a member of the Advisory Committee.

Community Poverty Reduction Strategy

UBCM continues to work with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) on the Community Poverty Reduction Strategy. This initiative was launched in April 2012 in seven pilot communities: Prince George, Cranbrook, Port Hardy, Surrey, New Westminster, Stewart and Kamloops. The Ministry provided seven family consultants on a half-time basis to build partnerships with local governments, community organizations and local businesses. The family consultants also developed Community Action Plans; and assisted families in accessing services.

A stakeholder forum was held in March 2015. More than 50 individuals gathered together representing the seven participating communities (local government, city/district staff, community service providers, Family Consultants), MCFD, UBCM and other provincial government ministries. The forum was an opportunity to take stock of the progress made to date, connect and learn from other communities and build a plan for moving forward both at the community level as well as for the community poverty reduction strategies from a provincial perspective. Over the course of the day, community leaders shared stories of their progress and considered how their community might advance poverty reduction efforts in their city or region. 

A summary report, plus community and keynote speaker presentations, from the forum have been posted to the Healthy Communities Committee page on the UBCM website.

UBCM and MCFD staff are currently assessing recommendations from the forum to determine the next steps for the strategy.

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