Renew pandemic support in BC’s 2024 Budget
B.C. funding for COVID-related initiatives ends after 2023. This means losing capacity for economic recovery, supporting vulnerable British Columbians, and vital health management like vaccination, testing, and protective equipment for healthcare workers.
As we head into 2024, we call on the B.C. government to recommit to funding these essential programs - and to harness lessons learned so far from COVID-19 and climate emergencies, and make forward-thinking investments in public health:
Renew a three year-plan for economic recovery, sustainable health management of communicable diseases, and resilience against future pandemics;
Establish a Clean Indoor Air Act with an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) advisory council;
Support a comprehensive building retrofit strategy including cooling and IAQ improvements in the BC Building Code;
Provide a tax credit of $5 million/year to offset PPE costs for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities (bolstered by expanded medical equipment coverage, and raising rates of income and disability assistance indexed to inflation);
Include Long COVID care in improved support for complex chronic illnesses;
Invest in improved digital health solutions including better usability and interoperability between health authorities.
Find our full recommendations here (including some of the government spending recommendations they’re based on!).
Email your MLA and then SHARE THIS CAMPAIGN! Then take further action by December 15, 2023:
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Why does this matter?
The need for sustainable health management is highlighted by new COVID variants, fall/winter disease surges, hospital outbreaks, and the recent restoration of mask directives in B.C. healthcare. Strategic investments now also create resilience for future pandemics and emergent health threats, which are becoming more likely due to climate change.
Pandemic impacts continue to be felt across numerous economic sectors; record-high work absences from illness are straining budgets and contributing to labour shortages. Meanwhile, loss of COVID relief funding puts half of affected charities at moderate-to-high risk of closure, jeopardizing essential community services.
British Columbians need clean air to address wildfire smoke, airborne illnesses, CO2 buildup and more. Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are already taking action on this issue, which has been shown to be one of the most cost-effective public health measures (reducing illness at a benefit-cost ratio from 3:1 to 100:1).
Long COVID is causing profound impacts, affecting at least 10-20% of COVID survivors including 16% of children. B.C. doctors and patients are calling for improved resources, echoing the recommendations of Canada’s own Office of the Chief Science Advisor. Meanwhile, COVID-19 may also trigger or accelerate other complex chronic diseases that B.C. identifies as urgent priorities, including diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, myalgic encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis.
“The worst thing any country could do now is to use [ending the pandemic’s emergency phase] as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about… If we all go back to how things were before COVID-19, we will have failed”. - WHO Director-General, May 5, 2023
Learn more about DoNoHarm BC at DoNoHarmBC.ca