Support Our Health Care Society      




Edward Staples, President          
Bill Day, Vice President
Nienke Klaver, Secretary 
Jon Bartlett, Treasurer
Rika Ruebsaat, Director
Angela Ziegler, Director
Paula Shackleton, Director   

The Support Our Health Care (SOHC) Society of Princeton is a grassroots movement dedicated to the improvement of health care services in Princeton and Area.
Previously called the Save Our Hospital Coalition (SOHC). Established in April 2012, when Princeton received the news that our Emergeny Department was closing for 4 nights a week.

Our Vision: Our future includes a model of health care that serves Princeton and Area from “cradle to grave”, competently and efficiently, with Princeton General Hospital at the core of these services. The renewal of our health care services will ensure that our community will thrive.

Our Mission: Dedicated to the development of Princeton as a model of excellence and innovation in rural health care.

SOHC is a member of the BC Health Coalition ( and is associated with the Rural Coordination Centre of BC ( and the Rural Health Services Research Network of BC (


Position Paper on Urgent and Primary Care Centres

Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCCs) were first introduced to the province in 2018, with the creation of five UPCCs in the West Shore (Langford), Vancouver, Quesnel, Surrey and Kamloops. An additional five were launched by summer 2019. The Ministry has set a target of an additional 10 UPCCs to be opened across BC in 2019/20 – primarily in urban settings. A further 10 will be added in 2020/21.

According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) Policy Directive, the goal of UPCCs is to provide a flexible resource to meet both the urgent and ongoing primary care needs of people in communities  (primarily in larger urban settings) across the  province.

Furthermore, the Policy states that UPCCs will:

  • address urgent primary care needs in the community
  • provide immediate attachment for patients who do not have a family physician or nurse practitioner
  • provide interim attachment for those who may not fit into the traditional model of primary care and for higher needs complex populations 
  • act as a vehicle to attach patients to other practices/Patient Medical Homes within the Primary Care Network as capacity is identified.

The following are several concerns regarding UPCCs placed in rural communities:

  • they are urban based and provide little or no service to rural communities;  their purpose is essentially to provide urgent care to patients and reduce the high demand found in urban emergency departments and do little to reduce emergency department demand in rural communities
  • they focus primarily on episodic care, not longitudinal care
  • practitioners working in UPCCs earn higher salaries and have fewer responsibilities than practitioners in rural settings, which has the potential to attract rural healthcare professionals into UPCCs
  • there are communities where UPCCs have been or will be established that see them as competition against the model of care that they would like to see in their community.

UPCCs are a “made in BC” solution to a very complex problem. To my knowledge there has been no assessment completed as to the efficacy of the UPCC model. On the other hand, the Community Health Centre model  has abundant evidence to show that it is a highly effective approach to primary care delivery, however it receives little or no support. And yet, it appears that the MoH policy is to continue  establishing UPCCs in urban centres throughout the province.

Although the MoH has indicated that they plan to enhance the provision of longitudinal care in the UPCC model, anecdotal evidence suggests that there has been little movement in this direction to date and concerns have been raised about how effective these adjustments will be. 

The other major issue is that this is an urban solution to a provincial problem. For thousands of people living in rural and remote BC, UPCCs will only widen the health equity gap, partly because their location makes access difficult or, in some cases, impossible and partially because it has the potential to siphon doctors away from rural communities into urban-based UPCCs where salaries are higher and responsibilities lower.

The following outlines my position on Urgent and Primary Care Centres:

  1. The best care is longitudinal care, that places the patient at the centre of their care, takes into account the context of the patient’s family and wider social environment, and develops a healthy relationship with a team of healthcare providers.
  2. The backbone of a team-based primary care system should be a major expansion of Community Health Centres (CHCs) which are non-profit, community-governed primary care centres that emphasize long-term, relationship-based care delivered by an interdisciplinary team of practitioners.
  3. In rural communities where UPCCs presently exist, effort shall be made to incorporate as many of the five criteria of the Community Health Centre (CHC) model as possible.
  4. UPCCs risk widening the health equity gap between urban and rural British Columbians. Rural BC residents require a model of care that addresses their distinctive needs, e.g. Community Health Centres. Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCCs) will provide primary care services to populations of select communities throughout British Columbia, particularly in metro and urban areas
  5. One of the objectives of the UPCC is to increase attachment to a GP/NP. However there is no evidence to indicate that this has happened. A broader policy needs to be developed that addresses rural patient attachment in an effective and sustainable way.

    Author: Nienke Klaver



SOHC sent 11 healthcare questions to the candidates:

  1. What will your party do to relieve the financial hardship of travel for medical care?
  2. What will your party do to increase specialist services in rural areas?
  3. What will your party do to provide family physicians in areas that have none?
  4. If elected, what will your party do to ensure adequate financial and planning support is provided to rural communities expressing an interest in establishing a Community Health Centre?
  5. If elected, what will your party do to ensure continued funding for existing Community Health Centres?
  6. If elected, how will physicians be paid in Community Health Centres?
  7. What is your party’s position on private, for-profit healthcare?
  8. What is your party prepared to do to defend further challenges to Canada’s public health care system?
  9. What would you and your party do to improve long term care in BC?
  10. What is your party’s position on P3s in healthcare?
  11. As a candidate in the provincial election, what are you and your party prepared to do to address these barriers to mental health and addictions services in rural BC communities? (transportation and out-of-pocket costs, small town stigma)

Click on the Downloads to read the answers the Candidates provided. Listen and watch the All Candidates Public Forum on Healthcare (Boundary-Similkameen) held on October 20, 2020.


SOHC’s History in Pictures

September 17, 2013 – At the second meeting of the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee, IHA announced that, as of October 11, 2013, the Emergency Departmentat Princeton General Hospital would be reopened 24/7.

June 4, 2014 – SOHC holds Public Forum on Medicare. Presentations on the history of Medicare, and background to Dr. Day’s constitutional legal challenge
Our first Rally was on May 22, 2012. This was our poster. The media was invited…..
May 23, 2015 – “Colour Me Healthy” Fun Run held at Princeton Secondary School. SOHC assists with organization.

March 31, 2014 – SOHC organizes Public Rally in support of the Public Health Care in Canada. The Rally is part of a nation-wide Day of Action marking the end of the national agreement between the provinces and federal government, known as the Canada Health Accord.


Princeton Community Health Table 

News Release
Saturday, September 25  2020

In response to growing concerns with mental health and substance use services, the Support Our Health Care (SOHC) Society has formed the Princeton Community Health Table (PCHT). 

On June 29 & 30, 2020 members of SOHC participated in the BC Rural and First Nations Health and Wellness Conference. It included over 900 participants from around the province. 

Our cohort focused on mental health and substance use issues. It was from this productive collaborative discussion that the PCHT originated. 

Various barriers have been identified to accessing mental health and addictions
services in rural communities. Transportation acts as a barrier, as there are limited options to get from rural areas to facilities located in urban cities that offer the services needed. Costs associated with transportation, food, travel, and accommodation to access those facilities may not be affordable for some service users. Further, the current availability of information may not be sufficient to direct community members to the services they need. Communication platforms that advertise information on where to access services are needed in sites that will reach populations that are at increased risk of mental health challenges. It also appears that stigmatization around mental health treatment plays a role in the barriers to accessing treatment, particularly in communities where the small population size has the potential to reduce the level of confidentiality between service providers and service users. Finally, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic decreases access to services, and has resulted in the need for social distancing. This puts individuals at risk of isolation and related mental health challenges such as stress, anxiety, and depression, amongst others. 

The goal of the PCHT is to improve access to mental health and substance use
services for people living in Princeton and surrounding area. The group aims to include key stakeholders in projects that address the root causes of mental illness and improve access to mental health and addiction services in the community. To accomplish this the group plans to review the community’s current resources and determine a path forward together to address current and new challenges. 

The PCHT held its third meeting on Thursday, September 24 where the group
developed prioritized action items and identified volunteers to work on the delivery of an action plan. Participants included the Assistant Superintendent of School District No. 58 (Nicola-Similkameen), the Executive Director of Princeton and District Community Services, the President of the Princeton Metis Society, a health researcher from UBC Okanagan, members of the Support Our Health Care Board of Directors, and other stakeholders from the Princeton community. 

Representatives who have agreed to participate but were unable to attend include the Executive Director of Princeton Family Services Society, the Nurse Manager of Princeton General Hospital, and a student representative from Princeton Secondary School. 

The PCHT hopes to expand the group to include participants from local government, healthcare practitioners, the RCMP, and people with lived experience. 


This profile provides an overview of the Princeton Local Health Area (LHA) population in the areas of:
Population Health | Health & Social Status | Health System Performance | Home & Community Care | Healthy Behaviours

Click to access Princeton%20LHA.pdf




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Princeton businesses donate protective equipment to local health-care workers


Apr. 2, 2020

Princeton’s doctors, nurses and other health professionals, as well as care providers from around the region, are making a plea for donations of Personal Protective Equipment in the fight against COVID-19.

Already local businesses have stepped forward with donations to equip front line workers.

Copper Mountain Mine, Weyerhaeuser, Lordco, Princeton Dental and Cascade Veterinary Clinic have made contributions, said Mayor Spencer Coyne.

Surgical and procedural masks, industrial dust masks or N95s, latex and non-latex gloves, safety goggles and glasses, face shields and procedural gowns are still needed.

Ed Staples, president of Princeton’s Support Our Health Care, said by collecting supplies now the heath care system will be better prepared for the coming weeks.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he said. “These are the people who are right on the front lines doing battle for us and they need protection more than anybody.”

Staples said he’s heartened by the response thus far.

“The community is pulling together. It’s coming together and that’s what we need.”



Saturday, Oct 28, 2017 10:00 am to 11:15 am, L’Chaim Room
Description: Healthcare delivery is complex. Each community, shaped by a unique history, geographic location and social context, has strengths and needs that collectively make up its capacity for care. When healthcare needs outweigh capacities, communities reach critical points requiring focused attention. Such has been the case in the community of Princeton where the Support Our Health Care (SOHC) Society was formed to better understand and support the community’s need for change. They organized a research based consultation to solicit the perspectives and experiences of Princeton citizens and to glean the ‘story’ from the community’s perspective. Discussion in this workshop will focus on how participants might initiate similar initiatives in their communities.


Nienke Klaver is a retired musician and music educator, now living in Princeton. She got involved in healthcare in 2012, when Interior Health announced closures of the local ER. She is a founding member and Secretary of the Support Our Health Care Society of Princeton. She also serves on the BC Health Coalition Finance Committee.

Ed Staples, President of Support Our Health Care – Princeton is a retired teacher with over 35 years experience as an educator and administrator. Mr. Staples taught for twelve years in Alberta and British Columbia schools and for six years served as Education Consultant for Edmonton Public Schools. His experience includes seventeen years teaching overseas in Saudi Arabia, Chile, and Japan. In 2008, he moved to the Tulameen River Valley near Princeton where he became involved as a public health advocate focusing on rural healthcare issues. He is President of the Support Our Health Care Society of Princeton and an active member of the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee, the South Okanagan Similkameen Community Healthcare Coalition, and the British Columbia Health Coalition Steering Committee.


February 16, 2016 Princeton Healthcare Community Consultation
Riverside Community Centre, Princeton, BC

Princeton Healthcare Community Consultation February 2016

or click on Download (below)

Areas of Strength – questions
What healthcare resources are you aware of that are available to you in our
What aspects of healthcare are working well in this community?
What positive changes have you observed in the health care services available in Princeton over the past three years? Have these changes impacted you personally?
What healthcare services have you become aware of that you didn’t know about two or three years ago (or until recently)?

Areas for Development – questions
What are the aspects of healthcare that are not working so well in our community?
What are the health care challenges that our community still faces?
What still needs to be done? In other words, what are the needs of this community? What is causing the need? Who has the need? What are the effects of the need?

Suggestions for Change
What recommendations do you have for changing healthcare?
What innovations have you heard about in other communities that might be applied to our community?

Participants were encouraged to share their own views and the views of their constituents while respecting the views of others without debate. Recorders summarized strengths, weaknesses, and potential innovations on flip charts so that participants could ensure their points had been captured accurately. Groups were audio recorded. At the conclusion of the focus groups, participants reconvened in a larger group to hear the summary of each group. Participants were provided with five voting stickers and were instructed to place those stickers on a single item or multiple items they perceived to be most significant to them. This exercise allowed participants to identify noteworthy areas of strength and prioritize areas for development


January 28, 2013 Princeton “Save our Hospital Coalition” Community Consultation

Prepared by Barbara Pesut, PhD, RN,
Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair, Health, Ethics, and Diversity School of Nursing, University of BC, Okanagan Campus.

Note: At this time we called our organization the Save Our Hospital Coalition, however, during the consultation there were several voices from the community that felt this name was too negative, thus the name change to Support Our Health Care, keeping the same acronym.


2012 – Discussion Paper SOHC
Developing an Improved and Sustainable Health Care Model for Princeton
prepared by Ed Staples



BC Health Coalition – 2017 Conference
Revolutionizing Rural and Urban Access to Primary Health Care in B.C.: Moving Toward Patient-centred, Team-based Care Rooted in the Communities it Serves. 

Friday, Oct 27, 2017 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm, Theatre Jewish Centre, Vancouver
Marcy Cohen has over 35 years of experience working as health and social policy researcher and educator. Her research has focused primarily on community health restructuring, strategies for improving public health services, and workforce equity issues. Now retired, Marcy continues to support the work of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and volunteers for a number of community organizations, including the BC Health Coalition. Most recently, she led the Raising the Profile Project, that has been instrumental in raising the profile of the Community Based Seniors Services (CBSS) sector in BC.

Some of the presenters:
Colleen Fuller, health policy analyst and a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the REACH Community Health Centre in East Vancouver and co-founder of PharmaWatch Canada.
Dr. Margaret McGregor, family physician who worked at Mid Main Community Health Centre for 25 years. She now works with a home-based primary care service for seniors unable to access usual primary care due to advanced frailty (Home ViVE ). Director of the UBC Dept. of Family Practice, Community Geriatrics and Research Associate with the VCHRI’s Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation and the UBC Centre for Health Services & Policy Research.
Edward Staples, President of Support Our Health Care, member of the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee, the South Okanagan Similkameen Community Healthcare Coalition, and the British Columbia Health Coalition Steering Committee.


Princeton Health Profile
Income greatly impacts health by affecting our living conditions (e.g., adequate housing and transportation options), access to healthy choices (e.g., healthy food options and recreational activities), and stress levels.
Those with the lowest levels of income experience the poorest health and with each step up in income, health improves. This means all segments of the population experience the effect of income on health, not just those living in poverty.
Princeton average household income $ 67,680
BC average household income $ 90,354
(Census of population, Statistics Canada, 2016
People with higher levels of education tend to be healthier than those with less formal education. Education impacts our job opportunities, working conditions, and income level. In addition, education equips us to better understand our health options and make informed choices about our health.
Offering or partnering with other organizations to deliver informal education, such as skill-building workshops (e.g., literacy training), can contribute towards improved individual and community health.
No diploma Princeton 23.7 %
No diploma BC average 15.5 %

University degree Princeton 9.7 %
University degree BC average 24.6 %


Too many Canadians can’t afford their medication

Posted on  by tulameennienke


Letter to the Editor
Princeton Similkameen Spotlight

William L. Day
11 July 2018

The House Of Commons All-Party Standing Committee on Health has recently endorsed and recommended the implementation of a Canadian Pharmacare Program.

Many currently healthy people are not aware that prescription drugs are covered by our Canada health insurance only while the client is in hospital. Insurance outside the hospi- tal varies greatly among provinces and territories.

For example, the same out-of-hospital cancer treatment can cost you $0 in Nunavut; $3,000 in BC; $20,000 in PEI.

Currently, Canadians pay more for prescription medications than citizens in any other of the 29 wealthy OECD countries except Switzerland and the USA.

More than three million Canadians are under-insured or uninsured for prescription drugs outside approved hospitals.

Researchers have found that overall, 5.5 per cent of respondents across Canada reported they couldn’t take their medications as prescribed because of costs. In B.C., the propor- tion falling through such cracks in the health system was highest among all provinces and territories, at 8.11 per cent.

Unlike all other industrialized countries, neither the USA nor Canada have established a drug plan that would allow their national governments to negotiate drug prices on behalf of their entire population.

In summary, Canada remains the only industrialized country with universal health insur- ance but no national Pharmacare strategy for its citizens.

The Support Our Health Care Society (SOHC) of Princeton will be doing its best to ac- quaint Similkameen residents with our collective problem and opportunity. We will be providing information in Princeton at retail outlets and surveying our local public on the issue. We intend to inform our MPs and MLAs of our activities and findings. To date, they have been very receptive. Readers are encouraged to go to the government website to read the original complete document and join the discussion:

The power to engineer this change lies with us, with Ottawa and our collective Members of Parliament and MLAs. They are listening and waiting for us to signal our support for change.

The Time Has Come.

Yours respectfully,

Bill Day, Vice President, Support Our Health Care Society, Princeton BC

Too many Canadians can’t afford their medication