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

Highlighting key health and wellness issues that we think should be front and centre in the upcoming provincial election, you can now view our webinar online.

Elections should be a time to discuss our aspirations for what we want our province to be. It should be a time to explore and debate the merit and practicality of different policies that can help us to achieve our common goals. A time to ask questions: how do we improve? How do make changes for the better or how do we replace what isn’t working with something more promising?


BCAHL believes that a healthier British Columbia should be a high priority for anyone seeking public office.

Currently in BC, chronic diseases – such as cancer, diabetes, heart & stroke and lung diseases – place a tremendous burden on our healthcare system consuming over 80% of the combined acute care, MSP and pharmacare budgets. And unfortunately, one in three British Columbians with chronic diseases and their families pay the highest cost of all – with lost years of life and reduced quality of life.

In this webinar, three expert speakers will present priority actions that should be taken to slow the growth of chronic disease and improve health in British Columbia.

Dr. John Millar, VP Public Health Association of BC and Clinical Professor at UBC School of Population and Public health – will discuss the growing prevalence of weight related illness and interventions that can reduce the consumption of junk foods and increase access to healthier options.

Dr. Brian O’Connor, Medical Health Officer with Vancouver Coastal Health (North Shore) – will explain how socio-economic factors affect health and how addressing social issues such as family poverty can improve health outcomes for those at a higher risk for chronic disease.

Suzanne Allard Strutt, CEO of BC Recreation and Parks Association – will look at the opportunities to improve access to physical activity and the infrastructure gaps that need to be bridged in order to facilitate health-promoting activity.

About the Speakers

Dr. John Millar is currently Clinical Professor at UBC School of Population and Public health and the Vice President of the Public Health Association of BC.  He was Executive Director, Population Health Surveillance and Disease Control Planning at the Provincial Health Services Authority until 2012. Prior to that, Dr. Millar was the Vice President of the Canadian Institute for Health Information until 2003 and served as the Provincial Health Officer for BC in 1998. His past clinical career in medicine and surgery included an extensive period in healthcare in the developing world.  Dr. Millar has also made significant contributions to the policy directions taken by BCAHL, by drawing on and sharing his vast knowledge of population health and social determinants of health.

Dr. Brian O’Connor is currently Medical Health Officer with Vancouver Coastal Health (North Shore). He has 25 years of experience in the areas of public health, health promotion and population health in both Alberta and British Columbia. Dr. O’Connor has been involved in the promotion of Heart Health and the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases for the past 23 years. He was the Principal Investigator of the British Columbia Heart Health Survey and the Co-Principal Investigator of the British Columbia Heart Health Demonstration and Dissemination Programs.  He has volunteered with both the Heart and Stroke Foundation of British Columbia and Yukon (President; Chair of Health Promotion) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.  BCAHL has also benefited from Dr. O’Connor’s extensive experience in health promotion.  As well as a regular contributor on BCAHL’s Coordinating Committee, Dr. O’Connor was also an advisor to BCAHL’s policy paper on the social determinants of health, Healthy Futures for BC Families.

Suzanne Allard Strutt has been the Chief Executive Officer of the BC Recreation and Parks Association since January 2001. During her four-year term as Chair of BCAHL, she oversaw the development of “The Winning Legacy”, a province-wide health promotion plan which was presented to the Premier of BC, and for which the provincial government provided a grant of $25.2M in 2005. She has spearheaded the development of a provincial physical activity strategy, a 7-year business plan for the provincial Active Communities Initiative, as well as the implementation plans for five large-scale, multi-year initiatives to promote health and wellness. She currently serves on the Executive of the National Fitness Leadership Alliance, the BC Alliance for Healthy Living the Healthy Built Environment Alliance of BC, the Seniors Healthy Living Advisory Network of the provincial government and as the BC representative on the National Recreation Agenda Working Group.  Through this involvement, she has spearheaded the development of many initiatives and strategies promoting healthy eating, active lifestyles, recreation and culture.