Newsletter update from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy
Building a stronger healthcare system for people is one of our top priorities as a government. Over the past few weeks, we’ve announced a number of important new initiatives to make healthcare more efficient and effective.
Your local pharmacist can now assess and prescribe medication for 21 common ailments, like pink eye, acne, or UTIs. Pharmacists can also prescribe many types of contraception, including the pill and IUD – which are now free! You can book an appointment online or walk into your local pharmacy, which will help ease pressure on primary care providers and give you faster access to care. We’re the first jurisdiction in Canada to offer this streamlined process. Learn more about this important step at https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HLTH0074-000859
Another important part of our healthcare system is ongoing research that helps us find new ways to treat diseases and improve our wellbeing. Through our Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy, we’re providing $20 million to the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, a world-class facility, to expand their research capabilities into better outcomes for people with cancer and other health issues. Our strategy is also helping create more jobs for people here in B.C. in this fast-growing field. Learn more at https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HLTH0035-000911
I am so grateful for all the healthcare workers on the frontlines who are dedicated to caring for British Columbians. I know there is much more for us to do, and we’re going to keep working towards making the system work better everyone. We are currently working on a rural regional approach to help constituents throughout our region.
New survey will help people fill gaps in government services
Everyone living in B.C. is encouraged to take the BC Demographic Survey to help identify systemic racism in government services. The survey was created through engagement with Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, and includes questions related to race, ethnicity, ancestry and other areas of identity. The survey is online and available in 15 languages at: https://antiracism.gov.bc.ca/bcdemographicsurvey.
Clean power to electrify B.C.’s future
BC Hydro will move forward with a call for new sources of renewable, emission-free electricity to power B.C.’s growing clean economy and create new jobs throughout the province. In addition, the Province is providing $140 million to the B.C Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) to support Indigenous-led power projects, create economic opportunities for First Nations, and advance community self-determination.
Province expands access to opioid agonist treatment medications
We’re taking action on the toxic drug crisis by being the first province in Canada to provide universal coverage for eligible medications used for the treatment of opioid-use disorder. Effective June 6, 2023, opioid agonist treatment (OAT) medications will be covered through Plan Z, the Province’s universal coverage plan, providing full coverage for B.C. residents with an active medical services plan (MSP). Additionally, eligible B.C. patients who did not access OAT medications due to the cost or because of challenges getting registered for Plan G or getting tax information to register for Fair PharmaCare will now have immediate, barrier-free access to OAT medication.
Indigenous Peoples will receive more culturally appropriate legal services
In B.C., Indigenous Peoples comprise about 5% of the population, yet account for approximately 30% of people who are incarcerated in B.C. To help address the this, the Province is working with the BC First Nations Justice Council to advance the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, which reflects the vision and priorities of First Nations communities to transform B.C.’s justice system. With the opening of a new Indigenous Justice Centre in Chilliwack and $10 million in funding to support First Nations’ community-based justice programs, Indigenous Peoples will have access to better legal supports and healing opportunities.
Return-to-work requirements will protect injured workers
Injured workers will be better supported to return to their job, or other suitable employment, through new requirements under the Workers Compensation Act. Effective Jan. 1, 2024, an employer and injured worker will be required to co-operate with each other and with WorkSafeBC to ensure the worker can return to their pre-injury job, a comparable job or, where the worker is not fit to do their pre-injury work duties, to other suitable work.
B.C.’s Housing Supply Act can help break housing gridlock – Vancouver Sun
The housing crisis is hurting people and holding back our economy. As part of the Housing Supply Act, the first cohort of municipalities for housing targets have been selected. We are eager to work with this first cohort of municipalities to get shovels in the ground faster and ensure the homes people need get built.
Homelessness Research Project Hears Voices from the Street – Castlegar Source
Safety, stigma and immense struggle were key themes brought forward by a panel of individuals with lived experience who presented at the West Kootenay Homelessness Response Summit held in mid-May.
Neighbours United’s Farms to Friends program kicks off 2023 season deliveries – Castlegar Source
Neighbours United’s Farms to Friends program is back for another season of helping local families in-need.
My community office is open Monday to Thursday 10-3pm. Please call or email in advance to let Angelika and Sarah know when you are planning to come in so they can be ready in advance to assist you. If you have any questions or concerns about any provincial issue, or need assistance with a provincial body, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help. My office can be reached at 250-304-2783 or Katrine.Conroy.MLA@leg.bc.ca.
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