Health Care Programs and Services
The vision for health care in B.C. is: a sustainable health system that supports people to stay healthy, and when they are sick, provides high-quality publicly funded health care services that meet their needs.
From the Ministry of Health
The B.C. Ministry of Health is responsible for making sure that all British Columbians have quality, appropriate, cost effective and timely health services. The British Columbia health system is one of our most valued social programs – virtually every person in the province will access some level of health care or health service during their lives.
The ministry works with health authorities, health care providers, agencies and other organizations to guide and enhance the province’s health services to ensure that British Columbians are supported in their efforts to maintain and improve their health.
The ministry directly manages a number of provincial programs and services, such as:
- HealthLink BC - a confidential health information, advice and health navigation system available by telephone (8-1-1) or online.
- Office of the Seniors Advocate - a service for resolving issues seniors may have accessing health care or with the care they have received.
- Medical Services Plan (MSP) - the provincial health insurance plan that covers most physician services.
- CareCards - identification cards with unique lifetime personal health numbers.
- PharmaCare - the province's prescription drug insurance plan.
- BC Vital Statistics Agency - registers and reports on vital events such as a birth, death or marriage.
For a full list of all the Ministry of Health programs and services, go to:
From the B.C. Health Authorities
The province’s six health authorities are the organizations primarily responsible for health service delivery. Five regional health authorities deliver a full continuum of health services to meet the needs of the population within their respective geographic regions. A sixth health authority, the Provincial Health Services Authority, is responsible for managing the quality, coordination and accessibility of services and province-wide health programs.
The health authorities provide facilities, programs, and services such as:
- Family Doctors and Other Primary Care Providers - the first people you see when you have a health concern or question.
- Home Care - home health services designed to help people with illnesses or disabilities remain independent at home.
- Assistive Devices and Disability Supports - medical equipment, supplies, and organizations that assist people with disabilities.
- Retirement Homes, Nursing Homes, and Care Homes - publicly funded assisted living and residential care services.
- Hospitals and Health Clinics - which deliver emergency, in-patient, and out-patient health services in communities across B.C.
- End-of-Life Care - palliative and hospice care delivered to B.C. residents who are approaching death.
To learn more about the B.C. health authorities and the full range of services they provide or to find out which health authority region you live within see:
Sustainable Health Care for the Future
The government of British Columbia has introduced a province-wide strategic agenda to fundamentally change the health care system – the Innovation and Change Agenda. This transformative plan will position the health sector to better meet changing population needs and continue to deliver quality health service to British Columbians in a way that can be sustained into the future.