Healthy City for All

mental-health

The Healthy City for All Award pays tribute to outstanding leadership by an individual or organization in working towards one or more of the City's 13 goals to achieve a healthy city for everyone.

2018 recipients

Ellen Sy

Individual youth category

As a student at David Thompson Secondary School, Ellen Sy is a dedicated advocate of promoting equality of access to opportunities for youth regardless of socio-economic background.

She founded a national non-profit aimed at supporting and engaging disadvantaged students in pursuit of a better education, by matching them with prestigious science and business internships. The organization also provides financial support for students who attend underfunded schools in urban areas. 

In addition to excelling in her school work and going above and beyond as a volunteer peer tutor, Ellen is a student activist serving as the President of the BC Federation of Canadian Secondary Students. She is intent on ensuring that the youth voice is heard in matters that directly affect them.

Her personal experience, sharp intellect, and passionate belief in the rights of all students to have equal access to opportunities drives her unyielding resolve to continue to advocate for students who don’t always have a voice.

Carole Christopher

Individual category

For over 35 years, Dr. Carole Christopher has been dedicated to changing our world for the better through her involvement in social, economic, and environmental justice organizations and activities.

Her background in nutrition led to her investigation and involvement in food security and food justice issues which has expanded to a decades-long crusade to effect social and economic change through hands-on community involvement and leadership. She is known and respected for collaborative leadership, proactive involvement, and a lifelong curiosity and interest in understanding and connecting people and cultures. She was instrumental in creating the Vancouver Food Strategy, which will serve as an invaluable legacy.

Carole has spearheaded community-based initiatives like the SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation) School Garden Project which encourages youth to learn about gardening, along with food security and sustainability and the SPEC Elders Circle focused on reinvigorating elder wisdom within the current cultural milieu. She has also been involved with broader based organizations like Food Secure Canada and international programs that promote peace and social justice in war torn parts of the world like Bosnia, Nicaragua and the Soviet Union.

Through all of her efforts, Carole has demonstrated an infallible grace and wisdom which supports Vancouver as a thriving and healthy city of which we can be proud.

Local Economic Development Lab

Organization category

The Local Economic Development Lab (LEDLab) aims to support sustainable economic development in disadvantaged urban communities. It does this by serving as a leader in providing impactful ways to promote community health and wellness through the community based strategies and the projects it sponsors.

LEDLab is a place-based social innovation lab (initiated and supported by Ecotrust Canada and RADIUS SFU) that partners with community organizations to test and scale solutions which create an income stream for Downtown Eastside residents. This offers a practical and logical response to creating a more vibrant and inclusive economy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 

By supporting programs like The Binners Project which provides opportunities for binners to organize their efforts in a way that generates income, reduces the stigma around their role as informal recycling collectors, and helps reduce the amount of recyclables going to landfill, LEDLab is playing a key role in making the Downtown Eastside a more vibrant community.

The LEDLab strategy is modelled on other social change efforts around the world taking a ground up approach to utilizing local knowledge, shared skills, and working with experts in various fields. It is proving to be a powerful driving force for making positive systemic changes in the economic system of the Downtown Eastside and beyond.

2017 recipients

Vivian Tsang, individual youth category

Having been through a period of cyberbullying, Vivian used her experiences as a means for change by creating the Humanitarian Organization for Providing Empowerment (HOPE) which serves as a way to support students facing similar situations. Now in its sixth year, HOPE provides opportunities to engage individuals in their communities, whether at schools or elsewhere in their lives.

HOPE uses an innovative model of mutual aid and interpersonal humanitarianism in order to meet individuals while removing barriers between benefactors and beneficiaries. Under this model, Vivian has created outreach initiatives to residents of the Downtown Eastside, and mentorship programs for students in inner-city schools to help Vancouverites build meaningful relationships and be given the resources to be empowered.

On top of all of this, Vivian coaches students on academic success and wellness as a part of the Science Peer Academic Coaching program on campus. In her free time, she volunteers at Vancouver Coastal Health, conducting one-on-one visits with disabled senior residents.

Dr. Bill MacEwan, individual category

For those who know him best, Dr. Bill MacEwan could be defined as the catalyst for ensuring even the most socially-isolated community citizens feel they have a chance to live a healthy life. 

As the head of St Paul’s Hospital's psychiatry department, a physician leader in ward 9A (dedicated to concurrent disorders and psychosis), and the current chair of the Medical Advisory Board for the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society, Dr. MacEwan has tremendously supported Vancouver’s most vulnerable population living in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). Much of his clinical outreach efforts focus on developing a collaborative, humanistic, and compassionate approach to care for those who are socially marginalized. He has worked tirelessly to help them reintegrate back into mainstream society through the cultivation of connections.

Resulting from these efforts, Dr. MacEwan and those who work on the teams he leads have witnessed important changes within Vancouver’s care system, including a smoother collaboration among various DTES programs such as the Inner-City Youth Mental Health Program, the Psychiatric Outreach Program, and the Downtown Community Court (DCC).

Dr. MacEwan has received multiple awards including the Award for Excellence in Community Practice Teaching from UBC in 2012, and the Psychiatry Residents Association Annual Award in 2014 for teaching clinicians how to serve people in DTES.

Hastings Sunrise Community Policing Centre, organization category

Hastings Sunrise Community Policing Centre’s extensive list of programs aim to reach out to vulnerable and isolated community members, linking them to various community services such as shelters, food banks, mental health support, and other government and community agencies. They believe that community engagement and proactive, meaningful citizen participation is key to a safe and healthy community.

All the centre’s initiatives – including removing graffiti, locating stolen vehicles, attending block parties, problem-solving chronic community complaints, and sharing information with the police – are designed for community members to actively get involved in. 

More than 740 core volunteers put in 103,350 hours of volunteer service, helping Hastings-Sunrise thrive. Their efforts provide integrated, comprehensive community policing services and social opportunities that would otherwise not be available.

2016 recipients

Jan Lim, individual youth category

Passionate about making a difference within her local community, Jan dedicates herself to advocating for and supporting a diverse array of civilians across Vancouver. Having founded the volunteer run non profit organization Starts With One with her peers in Grade Seven, they have since raised $10,000 over the past year to alleviate child poverty from the Metro Vancouver region.

Through various high profile fundraising initiatives, Starts With One supports Mom to Mom Child Poverty Initiative Vancouver and the Aboriginal Focus school Sir William Macdonald Elementary with 100% of the proceeds generated from each of their events. Jan understands the gravity of Metro Vancouver's child poverty crisis, and is committed to improving the lives of families through her work.

In addition to Starts With One, Jan has previously founded the Senior Citizen Companion Club, a volunteer group from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary that volunteers regularly for Little Mountain Place, a local senior's centre specializing in the care of those with dementia. She founded the group as she noticed an increasingly number of social barriers between elderly and younger generations, which often left her community's seniors in emotional isolation.

Furthermore, Jan is an advocate for autism awareness amongst her community, conducting a TED Talk just last year titled, "Destigmatizing Autism".

Lastly, Jan serves as the President of her student school and is a high achieving student. She is a student leader who believes in the power of her diverse community, and feels honoured to have been nominated for an Award of Excellence.

Chris Taulu, individual category

Chris has worked with community, developers and the city to finalize the Collingwood Village a project that is a model for all to see, serving on the Vancouver City Planning Commission for two years.

He has helped start parent groups and formed the city wide parent association and served as chair for a number of years. He also served as board member of the Vancouver Police Museum for two years.

Chris is a founding member of Living in Community and still works on the Safe Project in Renfrew Collingwood and on the expansion project to Cedar Cottage. Chris has formed committees to work on the Biltmore to have it successfully open without any problems from the residents.

  • Worked with the city and partners and the Native Education Society to make sure that the Broadway Fraser site was opened and managed well.
  • Worked with the city and partners on the integration of the Kingsway continental and continue to work on the residents to help them integrate into the community
  • Currently working on the Joyce Station Plan and the changes that are being proposed to ensure that the community needs are met.
  • Helped found and working on the intercultural project to bring all who live and work in the community together.

Megaphone, organization category

Megaphone is a magazine sold on the streets of Vancouver by people experiencing poverty and homelessness. Vendors by each issue for 75 cents and sell it for $2, keeping the profit. Megaphone has more than 40 vendors selling the magazine. Many of the vendors struggle with various barriers-homelessness, addiction or a mental illness. Selling the paper empowers the vendors, gives them a voice in their community and raises their self-esteem.

Megaphone also runs a series of writing workshops in Vancouver for marginalized writers. These workshops are run in treatment centres, social housing building and community centres. The workshops give people a therapeutic opportunity to express themselves and get published in Megaphone. By having these stories in the magazine, readers gain a personal and powerful account of what it's like to live in poverty.

2015 recipients

Cecilia Bao, individual youth category

Cecilia Bao is a grade 11 International Baccalaureate student at Churchill Secondary School who has shown excellence in academics, music, athletics, and volunteerism.

She has organized a TED Talk event for youth and the South Fraser Model United Nations Conference for Youth. Through Battered Women's Support Services, Cecilia has facilitated workshops for youth about violence against women in teenage relationships. She also teaches music to elementary school-aged students and coaches youth basketball year-round.

Cecilia is an extremely engaged and engaging Vancouverite. A collaborative and compassionate leader, she mentors others to lead. Kind and thoughtful, Cecilia has inspired many of her peers to work towards positive social change locally and globally. Involved in seven community organizations, she works tirelessly to create opportunities that foster leadership.

The Healthy City for All Award (Youth) recognizes Cecilia Bao for inspiring positive social change in the youth of her community.

Maria Luz Fernandez, individual category

In 1985, Maria Luz Fernandez was a young mom and recent immigrant from Argentina who was looking for a family-friendly community in Vancouver. That community started with a woman who taught her English and introduced her to a Family Place in the neighbourhood.

Grateful for finding the community she sought, Maria has dedicated her 40-year career to creating family-centred programming in the Vancouver area. For almost 25 years, she has been known as the face of the Mount Pleasant Family Centre Society.

A community builder whose impact can be felt by two generations of Mount Pleasant residents, Maria has a passion for strengthening individuals, families, and communities. Her innovative programming and compassionate demeanor has made the Mount Pleasant Family Centre a warm, welcoming, and nurturing place.

The Healthy City for All Award (Individual) recognizes Maria Luz Fernandez for increasing the health and strengthening the bonds of family through her work with Mount Pleasant Family Centre.

EMBERS Vancouver, organization category

Since 2001, EMBERS (Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society) has been creating employment opportunities in construction for people facing barriers to employment. Last year, the society provided 877 people jobs, representing $3.7 million in wages.

In addition to finding jobs through partnerships with Vancouver development and construction companies, EMBERS Staffing Solutions provides practical vocational assistance. The society's workers receive fair training, skills certifications, safety gear, and wages that are higher than other labour agencies offer.

EMBERS has meant that many people, including recovered addicts, parolees, single parents, and newcomers, can earn a stable pay cheque, pay their rent, and support their families. The society has increased the health and safety of the community, built confidence in its workforce, and offered paths out of poverty.

The Healthy City for All Award (Organization) recognizes EMBERS Staffing Solutions for creating employment opportunities for high-barrier workers.

2014 recipients

Raymond (Zi Hao) Wu, individual youth category

Raymond Wu is a high school student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary. His involvement in numerous school-based and community initiatives as a volunteer peer mentor have contributed towards a healthy city for all, specifically for youth and marginalized populations.

Wu's dedicated involvement with the International Student Club and the Engaged Immigrant Youth Program have helped many immigrant and newcomer youth find a place where they feel they belong and can find support in adjusting to life in Canada.

He is also involved with CitizenU, Leave Out Violence, the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition Action Committee, and the McCreary Centre Society's Youth Advisory and Action Council (YAC).

Through the YAC, Wu has helped coordinate projects such as WE-CYCLE, a series of workshops teaching youth with limited cycling experience the basics of safe cycling and bike maintenance.

Dr. Michael Krausz, individual category

Dr. Michael Krausz has worked as a psychiatrist for more than 30 years, and is heavily involved in trauma care and treatment. His work has had a profound impact on the health and visibility of some of the city's most vulnerable residents.

Dr. Krausz's research and advocacy related to substance use, mental health, and housing security serve as important contributions to Vancouver's Healthy City for All Strategy, specifically Goal 2: A home for everyone, Goal 4: Healthy human services, Goal 6: Being and feeling safe and included, and Goal 7: Cultivating connections.

His research includes a clinical trial testing alternative treatments for people with chronic heroin addiction, and the AtHome / ChezSoi multi-site study on effective housing and support for homeless and mentally ill individuals. Dr. Krausz has teamed up with Bell's Let's Talk to create walkalong.ca, a community-based mental wellness portal for youth.

Ending Violence Association of BC, organization category

The Ending Violence Association (EVA) is a province-wide, not-for-profit organization. EVA is a resource for more than 240 community-based services supporting survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and criminal harassment.

EVA's Be More Than a Bystander community education campaign provides tools, language, and practical ideas on how boys and men can challenge the silence on violence against women.

With the involvement of BC Lions Football Club, including presentations by BC Lions players at schools around BC, the Be More Than a Bystander initiative has increased the capacity of bystanders, particularly boys and men, to prevent violence, promote healthy, safe relationships, and increase respectful attitudes towards women and girls.

A healthy city for all: Vancouver's strategy

The Healthy City Strategy is a long-term, integrated plan for healthier people, healthier places, and a healthier planet.

Healthy City Strategy

The Healthy City Strategy a long-term, integrated plan for healthier people, places, and planet.