Health care

B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy

Putting People First

This plan builds on our progress to deliver better health care for everyone in B.C. It lays out a plan to build a stronger health care workforce and deliver better services for people and families. 

Improving access to cancer care

Facing a cancer diagnosis places enormous strain on a person, and it is even harder when they have to travel a long distance for life-saving care. We’re expanding travel and accommodation support in B.C. for cancer patients from all parts of the province so people can focus on getting well. This is just one of the steps we’re taking to better detect, treat and prevent cancer in B.C.

Helping people get emergency care faster

When people go to the emergency department they need prompt access to care. We’re working to help people get the emergency care they need faster. We’re taking steps to add the role of physician assistants to the healthcare team in B.C. It is an important next step in the actions we’re taking to retain, recruit and train health-care workers so people in B.C. can get the health care they need.

New hospital and cancer centre in Surrey

People in B.C. will benefit from a new, digitally equipped smart hospital and cancer centre in Surrey. The new hospital will deliver a second emergency department in the community and will include a new location of the BC Cancer Centre. The new Surrey hospital will enhance health-care services for British Columbians and improve care for people facing cancer.

See a pharmacist for minor ailments and contraceptives

People in B.C. can now get assessed and treated at most pharmacies for 21 minor ailments and contraceptives. You can also book an appointment to see a pharmacist online. Your visit may include a prescription, advice for self-care or recommendation to see another health care provider for further advice

A caretaker and older adult laughing together. The older adult sits in a chair while the caretaker sits on the armrest.

Adding more long-term care in B.C.

As people age, their health needs change. Everyone in B.C. deserves to have access to that care when and where they need it. We’re investing in primary care, home health, long-term care and assisted living services throughout B.C.

The hand of a pharmacist is seen pulling a box of medication from the shelf.

Free contraception

Starting April 1, 2023, B.C. will be the first province or territory in Canada to make prescription contraception free to all residents.

Two people sit next to each other in white chairs against a white wall background. The man on the left is slouching while looking at the woman on the right who holds a clipboard.

Expanding mental-health and addiction treatment services

To support people struggling with addiction, more than $586 million will add treatment and recovery beds throughout B.C., develop and roll out a new model of care to support people through their entire recovery journey, create wraparound supports, expand Indigenous treatment centres and develop new recovery communities to support people and their recovery through the long term.

A doctor in a med jacket stands at the end of a table talking to a group of young doctors in blue scrubs.

Hiring, training and keeping more health-care workers

Funding to help recruit and retain staff, redesign and rebalance workloads, make health-care spaces more culturally safe, and expand training and education seats for a full range of health-care professionals.

An Asian woman in scrubs wearing a stethoscope points to an Xray while talking to a patient. They are both wearing medical masks.

Cancer Care Action Plan

Nearly everyone in B.C. has been touched by cancer at some point in their lives. Investing in better prevention strategies, earlier detection, faster treatment and team-based support services means that people in B.C. can get cancer care they can count on – where and when they need it.

Two young Asian women are seen laughing together on a sofa. One holds her hands on the other's pregnant belly, while she has a stethoscope on her lap.

Training more midwives

Demand for midwives has increased rapidly in B.C. Increasing the number of midwife seats at UBC means more access to pregnancy care, especially in rural, remote & First Nations communities.

Two young adults sit and talk holding a flyer. One wears all black with ripped jeans, a silver chain, and backwards cap. The other is a masculine-presenting person wearing a white t-shirt and pins of the transgender and 2SLGBTQ+ flags.

More peer support now available

Foundry BC’s peer support gives youth aged 12-24 the chance to connect online or in-person with another young person who’s there to listen.

A doctor smiles at her patient, a young boy.

Providing a new family physician compensation model that supports primary care needs

Helping retain and attract more family physicians to the health care system.

An aerial view of a circle of people sitting in chairs, very close together. We mostly see knees and hands, and the backs of some heads as they all lean in.

Addiction is not a crime

Addiction needs to be treated as a health care issue, not a criminal one. Starting Jan. 31, 2023, adults aged 18 and over who possess 2.5g or less of certain illegal drugs for personal use will no longer face criminal charges in B.C.

A young nurse stands behind a Black woman who is seated. They are touching hands and smiling at each other.

Helping more nurses practice in B.C., faster

Too many barriers have prevented many nurses from entering or returning to work in the health care system. Removing these obstacles means more nurses can work in the field they love, and people in B.C. can get better access to the health care they deserve.

A group of medical students sit at a table writing and smiling.

A new B.C. medical school

Establishing a new medical school at SFU will allow B.C. to attract and train more future doctors to work in the health-care system.

A group of doctors in blue scrubs, two wearing medical jackets, smile at the camera. Four appear to be younger while one is middle-aged.

More internationally trained family doctors working sooner

Supporting three times more family physicians trained outside of Canada to work in B.C.’s health-care system, faster, and creating a new associate physician role to provide immediate solutions for people accessing health-care services.

Two young doctors look at a chart while walking down the hall past another group of doctors talking to each other.

Train more doctors

Making sure B.C. has more family doctors and specialists in the long-term by increasing spots for future doctors at UBC Faculty of Medicine.

A doctor smiles at her patient, a toddler wearing a yellow shirt who sits in their mother's lap, while a person in scrubs stands in the background.

Train more health care workers on the job

Providing the next generation of health care workers support to learn and earn at the same time. This means more people get access to health care, while workers grow their careers.

A pharmacist smiles while talking to a woman about a box of medication.

Expand the scope of practice for pharmacists, paramedics and first responders

Pharmacists, paramedics and first responders will have expanded roles. Pharmacists will be able to refill some medication. This means shorter wait-times at walk-in clinics and emergency rooms.

A young man with dark brown skin smiles and hugs his classmate with long red-brown hair. They are wearing graduation robes and hats, and he holds his diploma in one hand.

Free education to become a health care assistant

Tuition support for students in high-priority health care fields helps build a future workforce, while allowing more students to start their careers with less debt.

A doctor smiles at a young girl sitting with her mother.

Develop a pool of travel-ready nurses

A team of nurses who can travel into rural/remote communities means people can get access to health care without travelling long distances.

A young girl with long dark braids sits and smiles at a doctor.

Reform the health care system to make it culturally safer

More equitable access to health care to improve health outcomes. This means better training and education, so we can build a culturally safer system of care for everyone in B.C.

A young woman of colour wears scrubs and a stethoscope while standing in front of a hospital bed in a blue room.

Recognize credentials for foreign-trained health care workers

Making sure internationally educated health care workers who live in B.C. can work in their field. This means thousands of foreign-trained health care workers can help deliver the health care services people need.

A doctor wearing scrubs, a stethoscope, and a medical mask appears to be smiling at the camera.

Growing our health care workforce

Growing, recruiting and retaining health care workers is essential to meeting the health care needs of people in B.C. Bringing almost 4,000 hospital employees back into the public system will help people get more stable, consistent and supportive patient care.

How B.C. is delivering better health care services

A doctor sits with a patient in a daylight-filled room. They both wear medical masks and appear to be in conversation.

Streamlining health care services

Reducing wait times for surgeries, increasing availability of MRI’s and cancer screening services, and providing faster results. This means people will get the care and treatment they need, quickly.

Two men are seen from the back. One sits slumped over with the other man's arm around his shoulders.

Building paths to recovery for people struggling with substance use

Improved quality of care in treatment and recovery services for youth and adults. This means people experiencing mental-health and substance-use challenges will be able to better access the help they need, faster.

A distance shot of the Main Entrance of a building with trees on pavilions in front. Above the doors are the 3D words "Main Entrance."

Investing in hospitals, clinics and post-secondary institutions

Investing in new clinics, long-term care beds and hospitals throughout the province. This means improved and increased access to health services for people all around the province.

Two youth are seen sitting outside at a skate park wearing green jackets and smiling at each other. The woman on the right holds a phone and has a penny board propped up on her knee.

Improving mental health supports for everyone

New care centres for youth, culturally safe programs for Indigenous Peoples, more virtual supports, expanded substance-use and harm-reduction services. This means when people are in a mental-health crisis, they need the best possible care as quickly as possible.

Hospital executive staff are seen cutting a ribbon in the reception area of a Vancouver Coastal Health hospital. the wall reads "Northeast Urgent and Primary Care Centre".

Building the health care systems people need now

New primary care networks and Urgent and Primary Care Centres throughout B.C. are helping connect people to the primary care they need in their communities, while taking pressure off of walk-in clinics and emergency rooms.