Home > People and programs > Healthy Vancouver > Healthy City Strategy > Strategy background

Healthy City Strategy background

Healthy City Strategy goals

The strategy is guided by a vision of A Healthy City for All: a city where together we are creating and continually improving the conditions that enable all of us to enjoy the highest level of health and well-being possible.

Health is about much more than just physical health or treatment in the health care system; it is about the social determinants that shape well-being in a broader sense. The three focus areas below describe the holistic framework that informs the Healthy City Strategy. The Strategy is intended to engage all residents and all sectors of our community in taking action to build toward a Healthy City for All.

Healthy people

Our health and well-being begins with basic needs – clothing, shelter, food, transportation, and employment. We need ways to express ourselves, to be safe and included, supportive services, and to learn and grow.

Healthy communities

Community connections build a healthy city – working together makes us resilient and sustainable, we enjoy better health when we connect with our neighbours and are engaged in our communities.

Healthy environments

Ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable environments directly impact our physical and mental health – the built environment, networks of movement, natural spaces, biodiversity, and freedom from pollution are key to building a healthy city.

Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions Transition to New Urban Health Leaders Action Council

February 21, 2017 – The Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Additions provided its final report to Vancouver City Council. Council approved a number of grants to respond to mental health and addictions needs, and to create an Urban Health Leaders Action Council integrating mental health and addictions efforts with the Healthy City for All Leadership Table.

Healthy City Action Plan Progress

February 21, 2017 – Vancouver City Council received an interim update on Healthy City trends and pressures and action taken to date. Council will receive a full report back late in 2017.

Council approves $1 million contribution to St. Paul’s Mental Health Hub

November 1, 2016 – Vancouver City Council approved a $1,000,000 Innovation Fund grant to St. Paul’s Foundation for a Mental Health Hub, in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care and Vancouver Police Foundation. The hub will include new clinical care beds and a transitional care centre to provide support and referrals.

Fentanyl crisis update

September 21, 2016 – Vancouver City Council received updates from Vancouver Coastal Health on the number of fentanyl deaths and overdoses, and measures being taken to increase first responder awareness and access to Naloxone.

City of Vancouver committed to become a living wage employer

September 21, 2016 – Vancouver City Council unanimously committed to a plan to implement a living wage policy for staff and contractors at the City of Vancouver, with a report back on certification process by July 2017.

New Start: A Strategy for Immigrants & Refugees in Vancouver

September 21, 2016 – Vancouver City Council received an update from the Vancouver Immigration Partnership on the New Start strategy, identifying priority actions to enhance newcomers’ access to services; to strengthen intercultural and civic engagement; to build welcoming and inclusive workplaces; and to support governments and public institutions addressing needs.

School food update

September 21, 2016 – City Council received an update on school meals program provisions and granted an additional year of funding ($80,000) to Strathcona Community Centre Association’s community breakfast program.

Unveiling of the West End Sex Workers Memorial

September 16 2016 – The West End Sex Workers Memorial Committee, with support from the City of Vancouver, unveiled a memorial lamp post to honour the lives of sex workers in the West End who were adversely affected by municipal actions taken in the mid-1980s.

Healthy City Strategy implementation update

June 15, 2016 – Vancouver City Council received updates on the Healthy City Strategy and approved investments in projects related to nine Healthy City goals, including a mental health hub at St. Paul’s Hospital.

View presentations:

2015

Vancouver moves forward with Healthy City Strategy Phase 2 Action Plan

July 8, 2015 – Vancouver City Council approved the first four-year action plan for the Healthy City Strategy. The Action Plan sets out 19 high-priority actions for the City and partners to undertake from 2015 to 2018 to make progress on the goals of A Healthy City for All. Council also directed staff to report back on progress in 2017.

City of Vancouver recognized for excellence in planning

June 19, 2015 – The City of Vancouver won gold for the Healthy City Strategy from the Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC) as part of their 2015 Awards of Excellence in Planning.

2014

Council approves Healthy City Strategy Phase 1

October 29, 2014 – Vancouver City Council approved A Healthy City for All: Healthy City Strategy 2014-2025 – Phase 1. The first phase of the strategy sets out a vision, principles, long term goals, targets, and indicators. Staff will report back to Council with Phase 2, the first four-year action plan, in 2015.

Talk Healthy City for All on Breakfast Television July 23, 24, 25

July 22, 2014 – Ideas for creating a Healthy City for All will be discussed on City TV Breakfast Television July 23, 24 and 25. Tune in, learn about the goals, and share your ideas. Our ideas forum has reopened until August 2.

The Talk Healthy City for All forum is now closed.

Talk Healthy City for All: Round Two

June 6, 2014 – Hundreds of ideas have been shared since we launched Talk Healthy City for All on April 24. Nine first-round winners were sent to the Social Innovation Exchange Ideas Festival and the THNK Creative Leadership Workshop on May 30.

Share your ideas by June 30 and you could win:

  • A one-month membership at the co-ed YWCA Health + Fitness Centre
  • A three-month membership at the Greater Vancouver YMCA
  • A OneCard pre-loaded with a one-month adult Flexipass for admission to Park Board- and participating fitness centres, pools, and rinks
  • A one-night stay for two at the YWCA Hotel Vancouver
  • A pair of tickets to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Fall Season 2014 at the Orpheum Theatre

Vote, comment, and add your ideas to help us reach our Healthy City for All targets.

Update on Talk Healthy City for All presented to Council

May 14, 2014 – Staff presented an update on Talk Healthy City for All, the public engagement on the Healthy City Strategy where you can share bold and innovative ideas for reaching the Healthy City Strategy targets by 2025.

Host your own Healthy City for All Ideas Lab with our kits

May 13, 2014 – Host your own conversation with friends, neighbours, or coworkers! Our do-it-yourself kits have all the materials you need to develop bold and innovative ideas for reaching our Healthy City for All targets. Contact us at healthycity@vancouver.ca or 604-873-7487 to request a kit.

Recap of #HealthyCity4All Twitter chats on Storify

May 9, 2014 – Since launching Talk Healthy City for All on April 24, we've held several #HealthyCity4All Twitter chats to get people thinking about goal areas of the Healthy City Strategy. Read the discussions on Storify, below.

Public event: Healthy People Healthy Places, June 6

April 29, 2014 – Join us for an inspirational morning of knowledge sharing and dialogue on planning and designing our communities for greater health and well-being.

Talk Healthy City for All

April 24, 2014 – How can we make Vancouver a place where all people are thriving? We need your bold ideas and actions to make this a reality! Vote, comment, and add your ideas to help us reach our Healthy City for All targets.

The Talk Healthy City for All forum is now closed.

Win a workshop scholarship or a chance to discuss your idea

Share your ideas, and you could win a chance to discuss your idea at the Social Innovation Exchange Ideas Festival on May 30, or learn the skills to turn your idea into action with a scholarship to attend the THNK Creative Leadership workshop hosted by FUEL on May 30!

Healthy People Healthy Places: new date

April 23, 2014 – Healthy People Healthy Places will be taking place at a later date, likely in the first half of June. Stay tuned for a new date. A full refund will be available to delegates who cannot attend the new date.

Talk Healthy City for All: launching soon

March 31, 2014 – How can we create a healthy city of all?

Vancouverites will soon be asked for innovative ideas for reaching our Healthy City for All 2025 targets. Check out the draft goals and targets, and sign up to be notified by email about online and in-person engagement opportunities coming this spring. Help us build a healthy city where everyone is thriving!

DTES Social Impact Assessment (SIA)

February 26, 2014 – With help from the SIA Reference Group, the Social Impact Assessment was prepared as part of the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan Process to examine how future developments and land use changes could affect the low-income community in the area. The SIA identifies impacts before any development is implemented to help maximize the positive effects on a community while minimizing the negative.

New award recognizes leadership in making Vancouver a healthier city

February 21, 2014 – The City of Vancouver launched the inaugural Awards of Excellence, a new awards program recognizing outstanding civic achievements. Award categories include the Healthy City for All Award, which pays tribute to outstanding leadership by an individual or organization in working towards creating a healthier city.

City supports "A GP for Me" initiative

February 19, 2014 – The City is supporting an initiative by the BC Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC to help Vancouver residents find a family doctor, and support patient-doctor relationships.

2013

Help shape future programs and services in your community

December 1, 2013 – Everyone knows we are what we eat, but our health and well-being are closely linked to where we live and what we do. The City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health are key partners in an ongoing effort to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for Vancouver residents. Add your voice to the discussion by filling out the My Health My Community Survey. Your information will help shape future programs and community services that will benefit you, your family, and your community.

Mayor convenes Roundtable on Mental Health and Addictions

October 2, 2013 – Over 100 stakeholders took part in a Mayor’s Roundtable on Mental Health and Addictions at the SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue. Mayor Gregor Robertson opened the Roundtable, which included service providers, front-line workers, academics, and people living with mental illness and addictions.

Speakers included Dr William Horner of the UBC Department of Psychiatry, and Dr Michelle Patterson of At Home/Chez Soi, a research project examining the role of housing and support services for people with severe mental illnesses.

Two people living with mental illness who have experienced homelessness also shared their experiences.

Update on the draft strategy presented to Council

July 2013 – Staff updated Council on the development of the draft strategy framework. Further consultations and engagement on the draft strategy will take place over the fall of 2013, and the final strategy will be presented to Council in early 2014.

Memorandum of Understanding with Vancouver Coastal Health

March 2013 – The City has signed a Memorandum of Understand (MOU) with our key partner, Vancouver Coastal Health, to develop a formal commitment to enhance our collaborative efforts in seven priority areas:

  1. Early care and learning
  2. Healthy housing options
  3. Food security and sustainable food systems
  4. Active living and getting outside
  5. Healthy service
  6. Social connectedness
  7. Healthy built environment

Watch for our first joint action, coming fall 2013.

2012

Draft strategy

September 2012 – The City is developing a draft Healthy City Strategy in consultation with key stakeholders. Sign up for news, events, ways to get involved and updates on the Healthy City Strategy.

Partnership Agreement with Vancouver Coastal Health

August 2012 – The City of Vancouver is working with our key partner Vancouver Coastal Health to develop a formal commitment to enhance our collaborative efforts in seven priority areas:

  1. Healthy housing options
  2. Food security and sustainable food systems
  3. Early care and learning
  4. Active living and getting outside
  5. Healthy services
  6. Social connectedness
  7. Healthy built environment

Healthy People, Healthy City Summit 2012

June 22, 2012 – Healthy People, Healthy City 2012 brought together over 300 people from a broad range of sectors to participate in the launch of the development of a Healthy City Strategy for Vancouver. The summit featured presentations by local people representing programs involved in groundbreaking work in urban health and well-being including topics that highlighted:

  • Youth leadership development
  • Supportive housing
  • Neighbourhood food networks
  • Methadone maintenance therapy
  • Urban Aboriginal employment
  • Physical literacy for kids
  • Hoarding solutions
  • School-based substance use prevention
  • The intersections between older adult health, mobility and the built environment

Keynote speaker Andre Picard — award-winning public health reporter at The Globe and Mail and acclaimed public policy consultant — joined other leaders in health and social sustainability to outline ideas for what needs to happen to create a healthier Vancouver.

Healthy City Strategy publications

2014 fact sheets: Social indicators and trends

Talk Healthy City for All forum documents

Other City of Vancouver documents

Other key reference documents

Next steps

  • By 2018: Implementation of the first four-year action plan
  • 2017: Report back to Council on progress
  • 2016: Development of Healthy City for All data dashboard

Development and approval of first four-year action plan: 2014 – 2015

  • July 2015: Presentation to council for approval
  • Fall 2014 – Spring 2015: Development of the Healthy City Strategy Phase 2 – the first four-year action plan

Development and approval of the strategy: Summer – October 2014

  • October 29, 2014: A Healthy City for All: Healthy City Strategy 2014-2025 – Phase 1 approved by City Council
  • June 2014: Healthy City Strategy – draft document

Consultations on A Healthy City for All: June 2012 – May 2014

  • Spring 2014: Talk Healthy City for All: Public engagement on reaching 2025 targets – online and in-person events
  • April 2014: Second meeting of the Healthy City for All Leadership Table
  • January 2014: First meeting of the Healthy City for All Leadership Table
  • July 2013: Update to Council
  • March 2013: Memorandum of Understanding with Vancouver Coastal Health finalized
  • Ongoing: Consultations on draft strategy with key departments and partners
  • June 2012: Healthy People, Healthy City 2012 Summit

Internal Consultations on a Healthy City Strategy: October 2011 – May 2012

  • Joint COV-VCH Healthy City working group established
  • Healthy City Framework developed
  • Priority action areas identified
  • Draft Memorandum of Understanding between COV and VCH established

Internal Consultations on Urban Health: September 2010 – September 2011

  • Internal consultations with City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health
  • Strategic alignment of work across City and VCH
  • Partnered learning through shared workshops
  • Presentation to Council
  • Quick Start actions taken (e.g., compulsive hoarding project; DTES washroom accessibility; coordination on 14 housing sites)

Historically, urban planning and public health came together to address the most pressing challenges of the new industrial cities of the 19th century, which were marked by overcrowding, unsanitary and inhumane conditions, and rampant disease.

Increasingly, urban planning and public health are re-connecting to address the most pressing challenges of the 21st century city – such as growing income inequality, increasingly unaffordable housing, and significant mental health and addiction issues. These and other complex issues are bringing the need for holistic healthy city planning once again to the fore.

The importance of a sustainable city

Where we live really matters, and the City of Vancouver has a long history of initiatives which have focused on enhancing the health and well-being of the people who live, work and play here.

A sustainable city is one that protects and enhances the immediate and long-term well-being of a city and its citizens, while providing the highest quality of life possible. Sustainability requires integrated decision-making that takes into account economic, ecological, and social impacts as a whole.

Including health in city planning

Planning health into our urban environment can do much to increase health and well-being for all citizens.

Urban planning and governance not only influences the air we breathe and the water we drink, but also our ability to get around, where and in what type of housing we live, what food we can most easily access, what kinds of jobs are available and how long it takes us to get to them, how much and what kind of green space we can play and rest in, and how safe, connected and included we feel in our neighbourhoods.

What we choose to do now will have a profound effect not only on the health of current populations but on generations to come.

According to the World Health Organization, for the first time in history, more people live in cities than rural areas – by 2030 over 60% of the world’s population will live in an urban setting, rising to 70% by 2050. Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy shows that in Canada, 90% of our population lives in cities, and in Vancouver that population is expected to grow by 23% to an estimated 740,000 by 2040.

Sign up for news, events, and updates on the Healthy City Strategy

Please confirm your subscription

Click the link in the email we just sent you.

Contact the Healthy City Strategy

E: healthycity@vancouver.ca

Healthy City Action Plan 2015 - 2018

See what we've got planned to help meet our goals. 

Download the plan