BC Election 2017: Health, Addictions, & Seniors' Care

Watershed Sentinel Editorial Staff

BC Election 2017: Our comparison of the party platforms on Health, Addictions, and Seniors


  • Increase the number of graduating doctors from B.C.’s medical programs to 400 by 2025
  • Train an additional 500 nurses per year across the province by 2022.
  • Train and place an additional 100 nurse practitioners across British Columbia.
  • Identify retention programs to ensure these health care providers remain in rural and northern communities
  • Expand our Practice-Ready Assessment-BC program that fast-tracks international physicians into clinical practice in rural communities
  • Amalgamate B.C.’s three nursing colleges into one
  • Retain and recruit rural palliative care professionals
  • Invest $91.4 million towards ambulance response times and supports to paramedics and dispatchers
  • Expand the scope of practice of nurse practitioners in British Columbia
  • Work with the Doctors of BC and BC Health Authorities to allow nurse practitioners in areas underserved by general practitioners, access to MSP fee codes for treatment in addition to referral services
  • Explore additional scope of practice expansion for pharmacists


  • Double the Home Renovation Tax Credit to $20,000 to make home improvements to accommodate seniors or family members with disabilities
  • Introduce a Respite Tax Credit of up to $2,500 for people caring for seniors or family members with disabilities
  • Invest $500 million to ensure seniors in residential care facilities are provided with a minimum of 3.36 care hours per day
  • Complete our commitment to double the number of hospice spaces in British Columbia by 2020
  • Build and publicly fund an additional 500 long-term care beds across British Columbia by 2022
  • Introduce an Active Seniors Tax Credit to support and promote seniors leading active healthy lifestyles
  • Provide $1 million in grants to communities across British Columbia to build activity areas that are appropriate for seniors suffering from dementia
  • Provide an additional $2 million to the Union of BC Municipalities to fund our age-friendly communities program and expand access for seniors across BC
  • Invest $2.7 billion in capital spending on infrastructure in the health sector over the next three years

Mental Health & Addictions

  • $45 million to provide resources to allow for more mental health counselling and treatment for children
  • $12 million to provide up to 28 addiction treatment beds for youth
  • $9 million for the expansion of youth service centres at up to five sites, each expected to reach 1,200-2,500 more clients annually in Abbotsford, Campbell River, Kelowna, North Shore, and Prince George through Foundry
  • Up to $5 million to support mental health services for post-secondary students
  • $2 million annually for the BC Centre on Substance Use, largely for clinical research in support of evidence-based addiction treatments
  • $10 million to reduce wait lists for substance use treatment services incremental to those provided by the Health Authorities
  • $65 million over two years for the acquisition and renovation of buildings to house some of our most vulnerable, including those with mental health and substance use issues
  • Reopen the Crossing at Keremeos near Ashnola, a 22-bed program to provide intensive residential substance use treatment for youth young adults aged 17-24
  • Fund an additional 250 mental health and problematic substance use beds by 2022
  • Fully utilize the additional $10 million provided by the federal government to continue to prevent fentanyl and carfentanil deaths


  • Establish Urgent Family Care Centres across BC to improve access to doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians, pharmacists, mental health workers, midwives, occupational therapists and other health care providers
  • Ensure these care centres are open evenings and weekends, and provide one-on-one health care
  • Make this type of team-based primary care the standard model for primary care delivery in BC and the top priority for the Ministry of Health
  • Invest in more paramedics
  • Implement province-wide coordination to manage and actively monitor waitlists to deliver the best outcomes and most timely care for patients
  • Improve and expand travel assistance coverage for patients, including expectant mothers, from rural and remote communities, including equalizing the coverage provided for ferries and commercial flights
  • Invest in improving rural health services

Drug Costs

  • Ensure the Therapeutics Initiative has the resources it needs to do its job effectively, keeping drug costs down and patients safe. (UBC’s Therapeutics Initiative was recognized as a world leader in keeping prescription medication affordable and safe, before the BC Liberals’ health firings scandal wrongfully targeted the team at the Therapeutics Initiative, damaging valuable research about drug safety and affordability.)
  • Work with the federal government towards a national pharmacare program and support efforts to bulk purchase medication, bringing costs down
  • Enhance support to British Columbians living with, and at risk of, diabetes and remove the age restriction on access to the insulin pump program for people over 25


  • Increase the length of home support visits and expand the scope of services provided
  • Build and strengthen seniors’ centres around the province
  • Increase support for residential care and demand accountability from providers to ensure that they meet standards
  • Support relationship-based care, and ensure those care relationships are not disrupted by contracting out or contract-flipping
  • Conduct a systematic review to establish and maintain safe staffing levels going forward

Mental Health

  • Create a Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions that will work with the Ministry of Children and Families, Ministry of Health, local governments, First Nations and the education and justice systems so patients get treatment early and effectively
  • Establish a long term plan so prevention activities and treatment can be secure and effective
  • Ensure children and youth have timely access to the full spectrum of mental health and addictions care in every region of the province.
  • Ensure students can access specially trained adolescent mental health professionals within the school system
  • Recognize the hard work of community-based and not-for-profit services in improving the lives of those with mental health and addictions and expand support for these services
  • Provide access to a wide range of evidence-based and regulated treatment, including licensing our current recovery house system, enhancing supports post-detox, and improving access to harm reduction options that save lives
  • Reopen facilities on the Riverview lands to provide residential care where needed.

Overdose Crisis

  • Establish a province-wide strategy to ensure the widest possible availability of life-saving naloxone kits with people trained to use them
  • Provide more support to police efforts to disrupt the supply chain through measures to break up the major drug rings and send the perpetrators to trial
  • Push for increased penalties for drug dealers who knowingly distribute death-dealing drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil
  • Establish a special initiative with First Nations leaders and their communities to provide additional assistance where the impact of the crisis is greatest
  • Increase support for first responders, including counselling for PTSD and work-related stress


  • Establish a Ministry responsible for health promotion, disease prevention and active lifestyles
  • Explore additional measures to discourage the consumption of substances that can be harmful to health such as tobacco and alcohol
  • Establish a task force to develop a plan to transition the balance of resources between acute care and preventative care
  • Consult with physicians and other stakeholders to improve efficiency, reduce administration, and incentivize becoming a General Practitioner
  • Allocate $100 million for the expansion of support for interprofessional, integrated primary care to be provided by physiotherapists, nurse practitioners, midwives, dieticians and other health professionals
  • Invest $40 million in new long term care facilities to increase the availability of acute care beds
  • Identify and remove barriers to the implementation of integrated healthcare delivery between acute and post-acute service providers
  • Establish an Acute Care Innovation Task force to promote the application of best practices to reduce surgery wait times

Drug Costs

  • Develop a proposal to implement an essential drugs program beginning in 2019, designed to reduce the costs of prescription drugs


  • Invest $35 million over four years in home care
  • Ensure the staffing of public and private care homes meets government guidelines, and provide an additional $200 million over four years to address staffing levels in public facilities
  • Collaborate with Health Authorities and BC Care Providers Association to ensure that clear, measurable and enforceable staffing standards for residential care facilities are implemented
  • Develop a Medically Assisted in Dying (MAiD) Strategy that supports training for physicians and nurses who wish to provide medically assisted dying services and ensures patients receive services in an appropriate time frame and in appropriate settings

Mental Health/Addictions

  • Establish a Ministry responsible for mental health and addictions; which will be responsible for developing and implementing:
    • A Mental Health and Addiction Strategy based on the recommendations of the auditor general
    • A Youth Mental Health Strategy for early detection of mental health illness
  • Allocate $80 million to fund early intervention, youth mental health initiatives, supervised injections sites, and community-based centres for mental health and rehabilitation
  • Implement an integrated primary care model specific to youth and mental health and support innovative community-based options such as the Clubhouse International model

Overdose Crisis

  • Develop an immediate response to the fentanyl crisis based on successful programs in Europe that invest in treatment on demand, drug substitution, early-warning monitoring systems, and coordinated response

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