Board Voice is leading the call for the province to undertake a BC-wide public discussion on a provincial social policy framework – a plan for strengthening, prioritizing and consistently funding social health initiatives and services in our communities. (Find our 2017 summary report here.)
At its essence, it’s a question of the kinds of communities we want for all of us. When we envisage our communities as healthy, happy places where our children, youth, seniors, people with disabilities and new immigrants can thrive, what objectives and strategies need to be in place to achieve that?
It is widely recognized that the genuine health of our communities and citizens is determined by 12 factors known as the social determinants of health – factors that are largely social in nature, such as affordable housing, good employment and a feeling of connection to your community.
A provincial social policy framework would set out a vision, measurable objectives and strategies for coordination across all the many ministries, sectors, governments, non-profits, small businesses and corporate entities that have an impact on the social health of our communities.
This framework at the provincial level would be a living document as important as BC’s economic development plan, helping guide and improve social prosperity for all British Columbians. While our project around a social policy framework for BC ended in 2017, much of that effort continues to inform the work of Board Voice at the Provincial Social Services Roundtable, created in 2019 under the leadership of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson.
The social policy initiative began in 2013 in Vancouver, where Board Voice members applied for a Community Boards in Action grant to bring together five of Metro Vancouver’s largest social service agencies to start the discussion.
In 2017, Board Voice launched community consultations in 16 communities around the province. Some 1,600 people participated, and their insightful and illuminating comments became part of our summary report, There is a Better Way.
We hope you’ll join us in the ongoing effort to bring thoughtful, informed and outcomes-based social policy planning to British Columbia.