The BC Rural Health Network (BCRHN) consists of healthcare advocacy organizations working in cooperation with healthcare policymakers. The purpose of the Network is to promote and support a health services system that improves and sustains the health and well-being of residents of rural communities across British Columbia.

Our goals include the following:

  • to share successful strategies in an effort to address rural healthcare concerns
  • to advocate for policy changes that provide all rural residents with attachment to a health care practitioner
  • to identify areas of research aimed at improving access to healthcare in rural communities and to provide fertile ground for research to take place
  • to inform the BC Ministry of Health of rural healthcare concerns
  • to recommend solutions for the improvement of services to rural BC residents
  • to work in partnership with other provincial organizations to influence policy changes that improve access to healthcare services
  • to recognize the healthcare concerns of indigenous communities and include their issues and concerns as part of our work
  • to improve access to mental health services
  • to promote patient-centred, community-based primary healthcare reform

Membership is open to any organization or individual that supports the purpose and goals of the BCRHN.

BC Health Coalition – BC Health Coalition
Bella Coola – Moira McIlwain, Individual Member
Castlegar – Castlegar & District Hospital Foundation
Castlegar – City of Castlegar Mayor and Council
Chase – Chase & District Health Services Foundation
Chetwynd Chamber of Commerce
Cortes Island – Cortes Community Health Association
East Shore Kootenay Lake – Community Health Society
Fernie – Elk Valley Hospice Society
Fort Nelson – Northern Rockies Seniors Society
Fort St. John – Save Our Northern Seniors (SONS) Individual Members Margaret & Jim Little
Fraser Lake – Individual Members Bob and Elaine Storey
Greater Trail Hospice Society
Hornby & Denman Islands – Community Healthcare Society Nelson
Invermere – Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley
Kaslo and Area D – Health Care Select Committee
Kaslo – Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake
Langley – BC Association of Community Response Networks
Nakusp Village
Nanaimo – Jane Osborne/BC Assoc. of Community Response Networks
Nelson – Nelson Cares Society – Age Friendly Community Initiative
Nelson – Community First Health and Education Centre
Nelson – Nelson Area Society for Health (NASH)
New Denver Hospice Society
New Denver – Slocan Chamber of Commerce Health Committee
New Denver – Mayor and Council/Select Health Committee
Oliver – Desert Valley Hospice Society
Pender Harbour Health Centre
Pender Island Health Care Society
Port Alberni – Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Nursing Services
Powell River – Powell River Voices
Princeton – Support Our Health Care (SOHC)
Quadra Island – Quadra Island Health Society
Revelstoke Hospice Society
Roberts Creek/Sunshine Coast – Johanna Trimble, Individual Member
Salmon Arm – Shuswap Hospice Society
Salt Spring Island – Curt Firestone, Individual Member
Salt Spring Island – Salt Spring Community Health Services
Sicamous – Community Health Centre
Sicamous – Eagle Valley Community Support Society
Sicamous and District– Mayor and Council
Silverton – Mayor and Council
Slocan – Mayor and Council
Sorrento – Sorrento and Area Community Health Centre Society
South Shuswap – Health Services Society
Sunshine Coast Resource Centre – Seniors Planning Table
Trail – Society for Protection and Care of Seniors (SCPS)
Valemount – John Grogan, Individual Member
Valemount – Kurien Thomas, Individual Member
Vancouver – William Day, Individual Member
Vancouver – RCCbc liaison Stuart Johnston
Vancouver – UBC/Centre for Rural Health Research/RER – Jude Kornelsen



The BC Rural Health Network (the BCRHN) is the healthcare voice for all rural residents of British Columbia.

To promote and support a health services system that improves and sustains the health and well- being of residents of rural communities across British Columbia 

– All British Columbians are entitled to efficiently provided, timely and
effective health services.

– While the rural communities of BC differ widely in terms of needs,
desires, strengths, challenges and distinctive characters they share
many concerns regarding obstacles to essential healthcare services.

– Residents in rural communities are recognized as authorities on what
is best for their community. Grassroots healthcare advocacy
organizations exist in rural communities because of the recognized
need to improve services.

– Improvement to services will result from collaborative, cooperative
relationships developed between community organizations, health
authorities, local elected officials, local health workers, and provincial
policy makers.

– Together we present a strong and unified voice for change.

The following goals of the BCRHN focus on the need to provide solutions to common problems through cooperative and collaborative enterprise with key stakeholders:

– share successful strategies between member organizations

– advocate for policy change at the provincial level aimed at providing
all rural residents with access to timely and efficient primary health

– identify areas of research and to provide fertile ground for this
research to take place

– work in partnership with other provincial organizations to attain our

– Include indigenous communities through the involvement of the First
Nations Health Authority

– improve access to mental health services

– promote patient centred, team based, community focused primary
healthcare reform


Follow us on facebook and on twitter.com/bcrhnetwork


Individual Board members of the  BC Rural Health Network taking the pledge for Cultural Safety and Humility at our two day Board Retreat in Sicamous, September 14/15, 2019. We developed a strategic plan that will guide our actions for the coming year and beyond, and came to agreement on seven broad tasks with working groups assigned to each. 
From left to right: Elaine Storey, Curt Firestone, Colin Moss, James Lesley, Nienke Klaver, Pam Beech; sitting: Ed Staples.


Review of Family Medicine Within Rural and Remote Canada: Education, Practice and Policy

From the BC Province-wide Health Services Categories (2015)



Rural Coordination Centre of BC on the BC Rural Health Network

A delegation from the BC Rural Health Network posing with rural researchers at the 2018 BC Rural Health Research Conference in Nelson, B.C.

From the Rural Coordination Centre of BC
October 2018 enewsletter

This grassroots organization may be young (it started up in December 2017) but has much wisdom to share.

The BC Rural Health Network is a collective of small communities working collaboratively to advocate for improved health service delivery in rural BC. 

The idea to create this group came after a presentation by the Princeton-based Support Our Health Care (SOHC) group at the BC Health Coalition Conference in 2017. SOHC presented a “how-to” workshop on organizing a Community Consultation on Health Care. 

The response to the presentation was overwhelmingly positive, and SOHC found itself being approached afterwards by other organizations who either had similar expertise to lend, or who wanted to draw on the hard-earned wisdom of SOHC and other seasoned rural BC community health care advocacy groups. A few weeks later, the BC Rural Health Network was formed with members from the communities of Ashcroft, Nelson, Sicamous, South Shuswap, Trail, and Princeton taking part.

Although the network is still establishing itself in a formal sense – terms of reference for the organization are in the process of being finalized – it has hit the ground running, organizing meetings with key stakeholders (including the Ministry of Health), connecting with other rural communities and adding to its membership, hosting conversations with rural physicians through the Divisions of Family Practice, and planning next steps. 

If your BC rural community is looking for information, support, or ideas about how to improve and sustain health care services, check out the BC Rural Health Network online or on Facebook. We’re all in this together.

Rural Coordination Centre of BC



Recent Posts

News Release

BC Health Coalition
November 18, 2019
(Unceded Coast Salish Territories – Vancouver, BC) 

On Monday, November 18th, final arguments began in the Charter challenge that put public health care on trial.

The legal attack launched by one of the largest for-profit clinics in Canada seeks to invalidate key protections in the BC Medicare Protection Act which prohibit physician extra billing and duplicate private insurance for medically necessary procedures.This case is the most serious threat that the public health care system has ever faced. It seeks to erase from our laws the fundamental concept of care based on need, not ability to pay. 

“We joined this court case because we believe in defending a public health care system where everyone is covered, everyone is treated equally, and no one goes broke paying for their care,” said Edith MacHattie, a representative of the Coalition Intervenors, which includes the BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

“Brian Day and his lawyers have argued that it’s okay to profit off people’s illnesses. We disagree. All that this case has proven is that a private for-profit system would improve access for the healthiest and wealthiest while creating longer wait times for everybody else. Privatized for-profit health care means that you’ll pay more, get less and be worse off.“ continued MacHattie to a group of community members gathered outside the courthouse

Contrary to CEO Day’s claims, this case is not about protecting patients’ rights or solving the issue of wait times. Cambie Surgeries has not proven that the laws protecting public health care cause lengthy wait times or harm patients’ access to care. Instead, the evidence has shown that public solutions are the best cure for the problem of wait times, and allowing a private tier of health care would worsen wait times for all but the wealthy, and drain resources from the public system.

In Australia, private insurance was encouraged with the goal of reducing wait times, but in fact what occurred is that wait times in the public sector did not improve; in areas where private health care was most used, wait times in the public system went up. [Defendant’s Closing Submissions, p. 375-376]

Expansion of private insurance and care would disproportionately impact patients who are not considered “profitable” in the private system. Glyn Townsend, standing in front of a banner that read “Save Our Medicare”, spoke about the negative impact of a two-tier healthcare system on those with complex health issues and chronic illnesses.

Glyn, who has required health care to monitor and treat his HIV for almost 30 years – has been able to access care because Canada’s health care is publicly funded. If Glyn had been forced to pay for his necessary hospital visits, which have included admission for chicken pox and one for severe shingles, he might have been forced to choose between his health and bankruptcy.

The final arguments of the controversial case will be heard over the next 3 weeks. 

Ayendri Riddell
Campaigner, BC Health Coalition
Phone:  604-787-6560
Email:   ayendri@bchealthcoalition.ca
British Columbia Health Coalition · 3102 Main St, 302, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, BC V5T 3G7, Canada 

  1. Universal Pharmacare and Federalism Leave a reply
  2. BC Rural Health Network- new member community 1 Reply
  3. Too many Canadians can’t afford their medication Leave a reply
  4. The Fix Leave a reply