Vote for a Healthier, Stronger BC! Healthy Living Issues and the Provincial Election

image1

On Tuesday, April 16th, Premier Clark asked the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the legislature and issue writs sending BC to the polls on May 14th. At BCAHL we were ready and waiting!  On Wednesday, April 17th, we kicked things off with a webinar on the healthy living issues that we’d like to see spotlighted in this election.

BCAHL’s webinar ‘Vote for a Healthier, Stronger BC! Healthy Living Issues and the Provincial Election’, featured three very knowledgeable speakers giving participants an overview of the issues and a chance to ask questions.

Dr. John Millar spoke about the rising prevalence of unhealthy weights and measures that can encourage healthier behaviours, such as taxing sugary drinks, banning marketing of junk foods to children, subsidies for fresh produce in remote and disadvantaged communities and improving labeling at the point of purchase.  You can view Dr. Millar’s  presentation here.

Dr. Brian O’Connor then spoke about the health and life expectancy gaps that continue to grow between those with lower incomes and those with higher levels of income and education. He recommended a coordinated Provincial Poverty Reduction Plan with targets, timelines and a designated Minister, citing the success of Newfoundland and Labrador. He also emphasized the importance of universal daycare, extended parental leave and family income supports for reversing the impacts of child poverty.  You can view Dr. O’Connor’s presentation here.

Suzanne Allard Strutt, CEO of BC Recreation and Parks Association delivered a presentation making the case for a life-cycle approach to funding active-living facilities and infrastructure.  She highlighted the potential of active transportation (e.g. walking and biking) to get more people active on a regular basis. She also noted that more than a one-time injection of cash, BC’s ageing recreation infrastructure really needs a long-term approach so it can meet the needs of communities as their demographics shift and change. You can view Suzanne’s presentation here.

We were delighted at how webinar participants actively engaged in the discussion.  We asked about other healthy living policies and programs people would like to see advanced in this election, and participants were just buzzing with great ideas. Below are just a few examples:

  • Focus on health at every size by promoting active living, positive self-concept, and healthy eating
  • Provide training opportunities such as food skills for families and active living with income assistance and food bank use
  • More support is needed for healthy school-based meals for hungry children
  • Remove financial barriers for access to community centres for folks on low income
  • More financial support for kids to take part in organized sports.
  • Subsidize healthy foods in rural and remote communities
  • Tools to guide partnership building vs. silo building

 

The webinar video is available here to watch.