Budget 2021/22 Responds to Acute Health Needs of British Columbians but Ignores Other Prevention Measures


Vancouver, BC:  Advocates for healthy living and chronic disease prevention are relieved to see BC Budget 2021 investments in poverty reduction and mental health – which were at an acute state for far too long and clearly highlighted by the pandemic.

“The BC Alliance for Healthy Living has been calling for an increase to Income and Disability Assistance rates for over a decade because the assistance rates were not providing enough for a basic healthy diet or housing,” said Sandra Krueckl, Chair of BCAHL. “We all know how important a nutritious diet is for our health and the strongest predictor of food insecurity is not the price of groceries, but household income.”

Studies show that people who are in the lowest income group are significantly more likely to have lower rates of physical and mental wellbeing.  Those in poverty have a much greater chance of experiencing mood/anxiety disorders and developing one or more chronic illnesses.

“The investment in mental health is also long overdue and it’s good to see funding going towards child and youth prevention and treatment services in schools and through Foundry Centres.”

BCAHL also applauds increases in tobacco and vape taxes as pricing is recognized as one of the most effective levers for shifting behaviour and generating funds for quit supports and other health promoting initiatives.

While investments in poverty reduction, mental wellness and tobacco and vaping taxes are promising, more investments in active transportation and physical activity could have further strengthened equitable public health measures in the province.

“We would also would have liked to see strong investment in the Active Transportation Strategy released in 2019 and the BC Physical Activity Strategy,” Rita Koutsodimos, BCAHL’s Executive Director said. “Before COVID-19 hit, one and a half million British Columbians were considered inactive and only 40% of kids were meeting activity requirements. The pandemic has only made this worst.”

Chronic disease accounts for approximately 80% of the health care budget. “By getting people moving, active transportation infrastructure and physical activity programming would play a part in helping to prevent some of the most common and costly chronic illnesses such as heart disease and Type-2 Diabetes.”


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Selenna Ho
Communications Manager

BC Alliance for Healthy Living