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Federal Framework on Lyme Disease

February 13, 2017

Recently the federal government released the Draft Federal Framework on Lyme Disease. The Framework was written by the Public Health Agency and is based on information gathered from the 2015 online consultation process and the conference of Spring 2016. They are asking for public comment to be submitted by March 8, 2017 (see below).

The following is from a letter from Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Federal Green Party of Canada:

“The framework is required to meet the guidelines set out in my Private Member’s Bill, which include the following:

  • the establishment of a national medical surveillance program to use data collected by the Agency to properly track incidence rates and the associated economic costs of Lyme disease;
  • the establishment of guidelines regarding the prevention, identification, treatment and management of Lyme disease, and the sharing of best practices throughout Canada; and,
  • the creation and distribution of standardized educational materials related to Lyme disease, for use by any public health care provider within Canada, designed to increase national awareness about the disease and enhance its prevention, identification, treatment and management.

My hope is that the final federal framework reflects the input of stakeholders, especially patients’ groups, who have been so dedicated to improving the quality of life for all those suffering from Lyme across Canada.

If you can, please comment on the draft federal framework within the 30 day consultation period. You can do so my emailing your comments, by March 8th, 2017, to:

You can also mail your comments, again by March 8th, 2017, to the following address:

Centre for Food-borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch
Public Health Agency of Canada
130 Colonnade Road
Mail slot 6502A
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

Thank you again for your continued engagement on this very important issue. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office should you require any further information.


Elizabeth May

click here to read the Federal Framework on Lyme Disease

then submit your comments by March 8

SOHC Annual General Meeting 2017

February 7, 2017

SOHC Executive 2017

2017 Executive (left to right): Bill Day, Frank Turner, Lynn Wells, Edward Staples, Nienke Klaver, Keith Olsen

About fifteen Princeton and Area residents gathered at Riverside Community Centre on January 19 for the fifth SOHC Annual General Meeting. Following approval of the agenda, Nienke Klaver read the minutes from the previous AGM and Keith Olsen presented the society’s year end financial statement.

Edward Staples thanked the membership for their support over the past year and presented a summary of the Year in Review and the Year Ahead (see below).

The following were elected to the Executive Board for the 2017 term:

  • President – Edward Staples
  • Vice President – Bill Day
  • Secretary – Nienke Klaver
  • Treasurer – Keith Olsen
  • Directors – Lynn Wells and Frank Turner

Chris Goodfellow, President of the Old Age Pensioners Organization, presented SOHC with a donation in support of the work being done by SOHC. President Staples thanked the OAPO for their generosity.

Year in Review 2015-16 – Summary

SOHC Goals and Activities for 2017

Foreign purchase of nursing home

December 29, 2016

December 22, 2016

Submission to:
Honourable Navdeep Singh Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Support Our Health Care (SOHC) Society of Princeton, BC

Anbang Insurance Corporation Proposed Purchase Of Retirement Concepts

The Support Our Health Care (SOHC) Society of Princeton has prepared the following submission regarding the proposed sale of Retirement Concepts to the Anbang Insurance Group. In a letter sent to the Honourable Minister Navdeep Singh Bains, dated December 7th, SOHC requested an extension of the period of review by the Investment Review Division to allow for an adequate response from concerned organizations. Subsequently, we were contacted by Patricia Brady, Director General, Federal Investment Review Division, who invited us to meet with her by telephone to discuss our concerns. A teleconference was held on December 15 with Ms. Brady, Matthew Dooley (Director, Investment Review Operations) and five members of the SOHC Executive.

We appreciated the opportunity to discuss this issue and were impressed with the information that was provided and the clarity of their response to our discussion points and questions. At that meeting, we informed Ms. Brady that we would be preparing a written submission outlining in greater detail our perceptions and concerns.

SOHC was formed four years ago in direct response to the deterioration of healthcare services in Princeton, British Columbia. We are a grassroots organization that advocates on behalf of the people of Princeton and other rural remote communities in BC who are largely underserved by our province’s healthcare system. We are dedicated to the improvement of healthcare in our province and for this reason are very concerned about this proposed buy-out of long term care facilities by a foreign company.

The following points outline our views on this subject:
The basic requirement for existence of private companies providing long term care for elderly people is to yield a profit. Obviously, this applies to both Canadian and offshore companies. These companies operate in a market created by a mixture of private need and personal funding and public purpose, regulation and collective funding. A purchase by an offshore group is based on an assumption of future profitability, just as is a Canadian business acquisition. Quality of care and delivery is a collateral issue, not the primary driver. That quality is the responsibility of public authorities.
Responsibility for overall quality and standards of care necessarily devolve to government because only government carries the responsibility for the overall welfare of the citizenry. If government does not address the public need, no collective action will occur.
Foreign corporations who invest in Canadian companies presume future profits from operations, property development and redevelopment, and resale. Naturally, this also applies to any Canadian corporation or owner – the significant difference being that that the Canadian companies and owners are more accessible, more directly vulnerable to regulation, public ignominy and retaliation and are therefore more likely to be sensitive to local and provincial reaction to business decisions. Foreign purchase by definition lengthens the chain of decision and authority through holding companies and corporate structures. This increases the complexity of regulation and enforcement by Provincial authorities.
We believe that ownership of long term care facilities should remain as close to the service provision as possible; any distancing of ownership from actual service is a clear threat to the client because of the inevitable delay in response to service issues. We are not dealing with a physical commodity such as oil, wood or water – we are dealing with vulnerable elderly and frequently dependent citizens.
The involvement of a foreign company places the responsibility for a higher level of scrutiny on the backs of provincial health ministries who have the responsibility to provide proper regulation and inspection of long-term care facilities. The Federal government as the primary authority in such situations must make the job of its provincial partners as effective and efficient as possible. Read more »

We need improved access to health care – Dr. Ruddiman, Doctors of BC

December 14, 2016
Dr. Alan Ruddiman, Doctors of BC President

Dr. Alan Ruddiman, Doctors of BC President

The following article appeared in the December 12, 2016 online issue of BC Business magazine:

The president of Doctors of BC on foreign-trained physicians, overhauling MSP and the future of health-care delivery
Born in Dundee, Scotland, and raised and educated in South Africa, Alan Ruddiman moved to Canada in 1991—practising rural medicine on the Prairies for five years before settling in bucolic Oliver, where he continues a general practice to this day. Ruddiman was elected president of the rebranded Doctors of BC (formerly the B.C. Medical Association) in June 2015, after having held positions within the organization for 20 years. His opponent, Dr. Brian Day, promoted a hybrid of private-public health care options while Ruddiman ran on a platform of reducing bureaucracy and overcrowding in hospitals. The contrast between the two doctors drew a turnout of 50 per cent of the 11,000-strong membership in the runoff election, with Ruddiman prevailing by 603 votes.

The 52-year-old GP faces a host of challenges in his new job, which began June 4— including the need for primary-care reform, a doctor shortage and an aging population (Ruddiman’s own patients average 76 years of age, he says). But Ruddiman insists that with consistent management practices, and by learning success stories from other jurisdictions, there are brighter days ahead.

Why did you choose to get involved in the political side of medicine?
It traces right back to my early days of residency in rural Manitoba. I saw that doctors’ voices were not resonating with government, and important issues were going unheard. I saw a need for a bridging voice, a connective tissue to bring government, citizens and doctors together.

For those who might be confused, what’s the difference between Doctors of BC and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.?
Doctors of BC is a medical association whereas the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. is the regulatory body that oversees licences, practices and discipline. Our mission is to work for a social, economic and political climate that creates the conditions allowing members to provide a high level of care to their patients. Our membership is voluntary—about $2,000 per year for a general physician—and we provide a wide range of services, including negotiating the Physician Master Agreement with the provincial government, as well as leveraged physician insurance and even discounted hotel rates for our membership. We have also arranged targeted funds for rural physicians, specialists and initiatives.

Why is it still so hard to find a GP in this province?
There are a number of factors. Certainly much blame can be attached to the infamous 1991 Barer-Stoddart Report that said we were graduating too many doctors for the Canadian market. The message to universities and government was: cut back. Unfortunately we’re still paying the price, but we are now turning out more general physicians than ever before. Canada has never been self-sufficient in doctors; we rely very heavily on supplementing our workforce with internationally trained physicians, and now properly credentialed doctors from the U.S., the U.K, Ireland and Australia are accepted at par.

Premier Christy Clark said recently that the Medical Services Plan needs an overhaul. What is your position?
How we derive revenue to support our health-care system is best left to cabinet. We must bear in mind that federal-provincial transfer payments for health care have shifted from 50:50 to 25:75. We also, as Canadians, need to ask ourselves what scope of health care we want and Read more »

Foreign purchase of BC long term care facilities

December 13, 2016

On November 28, the Toronto Globe & Mail reported that Chinese based Anbang Insurance Group intends to purchase Retirement Concepts, a BC based corporation that operates 24 long term care facilities in Canada, including the Summerland Seniors Village in the Okanagan.

Support Our Health Care questions this proposed sale and supports organizations like the BC Health Coalition, Friends of Medicare and the Hospital Employees Union in their efforts to stop this takeover bid, estimated to be over a billion dollars. Under federal law, any deal larger than $600 million triggers a review under the government’s Investment Review Division.

As stated by Andra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare, “This sale is another alarming sign of how private continuing care decisions are driven by profit motives instead of what’s best for patient care. A distant and multi-billion dollar insurance company is about the exact opposite of who we need responsible for the care of our loved ones . . . we must insist that this sale be rejected so that we can refocus our system on care that is responsive and driven by local needs, and ultimately by the public sector.”

Hospital Employees Union (HEU) secretary-business manager, Jennifer Whiteside says that “Selling BC seniors care facilities to an offshore insurance company is not in the interest of BC health care workers, seniors, or our health care system.”

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said in the House of Commons last Tuesday, that he will scrutinize the takeover to ensure it’s not hurting Canada. “These are done on a case-by-case basis and, over all, our objective is very clear. We are going to do what is the net benefit for Canada. We are going to make sure that we advance our national interest and when we make a decision, we will make that public.”

BC Health Coalition co-chairs, Edith MacHaffie and Rick Turner, have sent a letter to the Minister asking to have the timelines for the review of this deal extended “in order for interested stakeholders and the public to prepare and share their views on this proposed takeover.”

The SOHC Executive has also sent a letter to Minister Navdeep Bains outlining our concerns over this deal and supporting others in their call to extend the review timeline to allow information to be shared and public concerns heard.

For more information, click on the following links:
Hospital Employees Union oppose takeover deal

Friends of Medicare call for Ottawa to reject proposed sale of Retirement Concepts

Globe and Mail article

SOHC letter to Navdeep Bains

BCHC letter to Navdeep Singh Bains

letter in the Comox Valley Record

Seniors Mental Health Research Presentation on December 7 at PGH

December 1, 2016


The public is invited to a presentation on recent research conducted by the University of British Columbia on seniors mental health in the Similkameen Valley, to be held on December 7 at 1:30 pm at Princeton General Hospital.

South Okanagan Similkameen Rural Corridor Community Coalition

November 30, 2016

SOS Div of Family Practice logo
In October, 2015, the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Healthcare Issues organized a meeting to launch an initiative to establish sustainable and patient-focused healthcare in the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Rural Corridor, i.e. Keremeos, Oliver, Osoyoos, and Princeton. SOHC was invited to participate in this meeting that was attended by elected officials, healthcare professionals, IH administrators, and other leaders from the four communities. The meeting was chaired by Aarin Frigon, Project Coordinator for the SOS Division of Family Practice.

Subsequent to the initial meeting, the group met several times to develop priorities and an action plan. Out of those meetings, two groups were formed, the SOS Rural Corridor Community Coalition and the SOS Rural Corridor Physicians Coalition. As a member of the Coalition, SOHC is working with representatives from the four communities to combine existing strengths and resources in an effort to improve the delivery of healthcare services for SOS residents.

To provide SOS Rural Corridor residents with information on the workings of the Community Coalition, it has been determined that the minutes from the meetings should be made public. To read the minutes of the October 25, 2016 meeting, please click on the following link:

Rural Corridor Community Coalition Oct 2016 minutes


To become a member of SOHC, please
email the secretary.
Annual membership is $2.

SOHC Discussion Paper

Developing an Improved and Sustainable Health Care Model for Princeton, B.C
Support Our Health Care has released a discussion paper in order to get feedback from the community, politicians and professionals about the state of local healthcare and what the long term solutions should be.
Download PDF Here