Actions to protect seniors, improve health care helped B.C. fight global pandemic

Press Release

VICTORIA – The Province took unprecedented action to protect seniors and deliver better, faster care in 2020 to keep people safe, healthy and secure.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit British Columbia, the government has followed the advice of public health officials and taken the strong action needed to slow the spread of the virus and protect those most vulnerable by:

  • protecting seniors in long-term care with a single-site directive that limited workers to one facility and raised wages for thousands of workers;
  • hiring 7,000 new health-care workers in long-term care homes and 1,200 contact tracers to help stop further spread in the community;
  • beginning an immunization strategy to protect vulnerable seniors, starting with front-line workers who care for those most at risk; and
  • helping rural, remote and Indigenous communities access better care with expanded flight and ambulance options, virtual access to medical professionals, culturally safe care and contact tracing.

“The global pandemic has turned our lives upside down and shown us that we are at our best when we work together to take care of each other,” said Premier John Horgan. “There’s more work to do, but our investments to deliver better care and support seniors will help protect people through the pandemic and beyond. We are committed every day to keeping people healthy and safe, and building a recovery that includes everyone across B.C.”

Building on the success in cutting MRI wait times in half throughout the province, the government is investing to improve health care and support seniors’ health needs by:

  • providing access to better care, closer to home with 21 new urgent and primary care centres in communities throughout B.C. with more on the way;
  • building a new second hospital to Surrey, delivering a bigger, bolder plan for the new Richmond Hospital tower, adding a new patient care tower in Prince George and continuing progress on a new hospital for the Cowichan Valley;
  • expanding cancer care by adding PET/CT scanners in Kelowna and Victoria, planning a new regional cancer care centre at the new Surrey hospital and launching a new lung cancer screening program;
  • supporting 500 new long-term care beds in the Interior, which is the largest one-time increase in beds in that region in over 15 years; and
  • providing patients safe care in the comfort of their homes and taking pressure off hospitals by launching the Hospital at Home program.


Jen Holmwood
Press Secretary
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
250 818-4881

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