Welcome to HealthyWestShore

The Saunders Family Foundation is passionate about community health and wellness and has launched this web platform to continue to engage and expand important conversations about the changes we need to make as a community in response to growing challenges in our public healthcare system.

News & Updates

Community leaders come together on the West Shore to develop local healthcare solutions

by Leonardo Rezende

Victoria, BC – The “All Hands On Deck Community Healthcare Workshop” was hosted by the Saunders Family Foundation and Thrive Victoria at the Olympic View Golf Club in Colwood on Thursday, January 26.

Guest speakers outlined the lack of primary care physicians or long-term care beds in growing communities like Colwood and Langford, indicating that staffing levels of healthcare and emergency workers are not being met by current attraction and retainment efforts, and that local governments, businesses and community organizations may be able to help.

“Tonight, we’re not pointing fingers. We’re focusing on solutions and local actions that we can take to support our hardworking healthcare and emergency personnel,” said Mark Holland, of Westplan Consulting Group and host of the workshop. Holland and Dave Saunders, president of the Saunders Family Foundation, have teamed up with Scott Bradford, executive director of Thrive, and with the support of the BC Ministry of Health will be creating a “playbook” of solutions for communities wanting to take action to attract and retain healthcare and emergency workers.

The event brought together a wide range of professionals, including nurses and physicians, government representatives, real estate developers, and members of health and social service organizations. Participants were asked to reflect and engage with one another and to write all ideas down in a workbook. The meeting hosts promised that every word written by participants would be read and considered for the project.

“What we are proposing is not about privatizing healthcare. We are suggesting a strategy be developed to make BC’s public healthcare system the best in Canada,” said Saunders. “We want to create a plan that will help West Shore communities, and eventually all BC communities, come together to create a supportive environment in which our healthcare system and its employees can thrive.”

The insights gained from the workshop will be fundamental in developing the pilot project’s playbook, which aims to be a reference tool for addressing healthcare issues at the local level in BC communities.

For more information, links to newly released reports, and to see the evening’s presentation slides please visit the website at healthywestshore.ca.


Contact: Dave Saunders, Saunders Family Foundation

Phone:  250-213-9407

Email: saund@telus.net

All Hands on Deck Presentation (Jan 26, 2023)
Focus on retaining nurses before recruiting nurses from other provinces: association

Efforts to lure nurses from other provinces are underway in several parts of the country, but the head of a national nurses association says the poaching won’t solve anything unless working conditions are improved.

“We know that nurses are facing inadequate working conditions, and that is the main reason many are leaving their jobs,” Sylvain Brousseau, the president of the Canadian Nurses Association, said in an interview Thursday. “If working conditions and retention are not the focus, the new nurses recruited from other provinces may find themselves wanting to leave their jobs.”

This week, Horizon Health Network, one of New Brunswick’s two health authorities, held three-day recruiting events in Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Its pitch to attract 120 nurses to the province includes the promise of an appealing life near the ocean with financial incentives of up to $20,000.

A spokesperson said recruiting from outside of New Brunswick isn’t new, and that it’s also hiring nurses through partnerships with universities in Maine and in India, as well as taking steps to retain workers. The province’s other regional health authority, Vitalité Health Network, says it will be attending several career fairs in Quebec in the coming weeks.

Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the province will start automatically recognizing the credentials of health-care workers registered in other provinces and territories. “A doctor from British Columbia or a nurse from Quebec who wants to come and work in Ontario shouldn’t face barriers or bureaucratic delays to start providing care,” Ford told a Jan. 19 news conference. 

Newfoundland and Labrador has introduced incentives in an effort to lure home health-care workers with connections to the province, while Quebec said it’s looking to recruit internationally. 

Read the full report here.

Market Information for Service-Enriched Seniors Housing in Colwood and throughout Greater Victoria, BC
It was a very busy summer ...

It was a busy summer, with interest and enthusiasm growing for our work on the Community Healthcare Support (CHS) Network Pilot Project and finally further news for the WestShore Elder Care Advocacy Network (WECAN).

The primary focus has been on gaining traction for the pilot project, where we continue to receive stories and valuable input from throughout the healthcare space, all serving to reinforce the fact that our integrated community approach appears to be resonating with people at the pointy end of primary care. We all agree that it’s time to take action to move us from siloes to synergies as we work together to remedy the “Crisis Call In” across our healthcare system.

Part of the outreach has included conversations with the various elected officials who have contacted our team since the release of our CHSN Pilot Project Proposal, including from Central Saanich. And on September 7, 2022, Dave Saunders and Mark Holland briefly appeared before a meeting of Central Saanich Council, which voted unanimously to bring the Official Community Plan-related elements of the Community Healthcare Support Network forward as their council continues work to complete the review of their Official Community Plan.

Interest and support for this work is coming from the broader community as well, from private citizens to business leaders and Chambers of Commerce, all eager to advance a grassroots plan of action that puts more of the public back in public health.

Thank you to everyone who is stepping up to seize this moment of change with us. It’s time to embrace positive change and move beyond politics and fully into authentic leadership. The world is changing, and so must we. It’s time for community and collaboration, and that is what this work is all about. Please read on.

Collaborating for Shared Success: Community Healthcare Support (CHS) Network Pilot Project

Throughout August, the Saunders Family Foundation/HealthyWestShore team worked closely with the Westshore Primary Care Society, Thrive Social Services, and M’akola Housing Society to brief Premier John Horgan and Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean on further details of the feasibility study we see unfolding in general partnership with the South Island Primary Care Network (PCN). That briefing was followed-up by another meeting on September 28th with senior representatives of the Ministry of Health, where Dave Saunders, together with planner Mark Holland and Scott Bradford (Thrive Social Services), provided a fuller overview of our plan to help interested BC communities transition toward a new Community-led Health Centre model for primary care. The meeting went well, and we are looking forward to taking the next steps.

Collaborating to Raise Public Awareness of Health and Social Planning Issues During the Fall Election

The Saunders Family Foundation also teamed up with The Village Initiative in August to develop a Public Engagement Campaign to Get Out the Vote and ask local candidates to demonstrate their commitment to health and social planning in their municipalities ahead of the October election. See who’s signed the pledge.

Continuing to Advocate for Long-term and Hospice Care Facilities on the West Shore

News was finally received last week on the Long-term Care Facility proposed for Colwood’s Royal Bay. The Capital Region Hospital District (CRHD) approved provisional funding in the amount of $3,806,100 for 2023 (about 1.8% of the project’s total estimated price tag of $205 million (in 2021 dollars). The CRHD is expected to eventually provide 30% of the project’s total funding or about $67,108,200, but they are not the primary funder or approver. Island Health requires BC Government funding (usually 70%) and approval before the project can proceed to next steps, including receiving public input on the design and final program of services to be provided at the facility. But we do know from Island Health that the Royal Bay facility must be used for long-term care beds and associated infrastructure, whether that will exclusively focus on dementia care evidently has yet to be determined.

Of growing concern despite the outcome of the Royal Bay project, is the fact that by the time the facility is built, our community will still be playing catch-up, like what we saw with the construction of Royal Bay Secondary, where an addition was required almost immediately. Since this is a very real possibility, the Saunders Family Foundation has again contracted with Westbridge Group Valuation Partner to provide an updated demographic analysis of the West Shore’s demand for long-term and hospice care capacity. Westbridge is the leading provider of appraisal and consulting services to the seniors housing and health care industry in Western Canada. In 2019, the Saunders Family Foundation funded the Service-Enriched Seniors Housing Report, which demonstrated the growing need for facilities to serve the wellness needs of our community’s seniors, including accessible hospice beds for the people of the West Shore. When the updated report is available, it will be shared and discussed again with the WestShore Elder Care Advocacy Network (WECAN). We hope this new information will be available prior to the October municipal election.

Exploring Opportunities for Collaborative Partnership

A meeting was also held in August with the Western Communities Seniors Low Cost Housing Society (owner/operator of Langford’s Alexander Mackie Lodge), to explore ways of working together as non-profit facilities struggle to continue to support seniors as the cost of living becomes an increasingly serious concern. Further discussions are planned.

Our Projects

Community Healthcare Support Network Pilot Project

The Saunders Family Foundation is seeking the support of the Province of British Columbia in recognizing the important role local governments and organizations do and can play in supporting our struggling healthcare system, and their endorsement of the concept and creation of Community Healthcare Support Networks (CHS Networks) in BC communities.

A Community Healthcare Support Network is a grassroots Game Plan to equip communities with Tools and Playbooks for taking local action to support, attract, and retain family doctors, nurses, and other healthcare and emergency response personnel.

WestShore Elder Care Advocacy Network (WECAN)

The purpose of the WestShore Elder Care Advocacy Network (WECAN) is to promote effective communication, engagement, and collaboration between various levels of government (Indigenous, municipal, regional, and provincial) and the community as it advocates for the development of long-term and hospice care facilities and an integrated systems approach to the provision/availability of elder care support services for West Shore residents.

This independent community panel includes representation from the Beecher Bay First Nation (Scia’new), Colwood and Langford City Councils, public and private organizations, as well as community leaders from a variety of sectors.


Lead Community Project Partners

Community Supporters

About the Saunders Family Foundation

The Saunders Family Foundation was established in 2010 in response to a high demand for support from several local individuals and community organizations. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the success of our fundraisers, dozens of local sports, music, arts and charitable organizations have benefitted.

Every penny raised goes toward supporting local organizations and charities.
The Saunders Family Foundation is a non-profit organization run by volunteers.

Our Board of Directors

Dave Saunders, President
Bob and Norma Saunders
Edie Foster
Ruth Saunders
Jim Tenhove

Indigenous Territorial Acknowledgement

The Saunders Family Foundation recognizes and acknowledges the Traditional Territories across southern Vancouver Island where they work to support healthy and vibrant communities.