Series GR-0117 - Dept. of Health and Welfare executive records

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Dept. of Health and Welfare executive records

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  • textual record

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  • 1948-1966 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of Health and Welfare

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Physical description

1.04 m of textual records

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Biographical history

The Ministry of Health was established in 1946 under its first name, the Department of Health and Welfare, with the enactment of the Department of Health and Welfare Act (SBC 1946, c. 31). Prior to that, public health services in British Columbia began in 1869 following the passage of An ordinance for promoting the public health in the Colony of British Columbia. When British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, the ordinance became part of the statutes. With the passage of the Public Health Act in 1893, the Provincial Board of Health was formed, reporting to the Attorney-General. From 1907 to 1946, the functions of public health, social welfare, and social assistance were administered by a Provincial Health Officer reporting to the Provincial Board of Health in the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary. With the establishment of the Dept. of Health and Welfare in 1946, responsibility for public health and social welfare in the province was transferred to the department from the Provincial Secretary. The deputy minister of health was the Provincial Health Officer and the department was divided into two branches: public health and social welfare. A third branch, Hospital Insurance Services, was added in 1948 with the passage of the Hospital Insurance Act (SBC 1948, c. 28). It administered payment of hospital bills, hospital management, and hospital construction. In 1959, the functions of health and social welfare were separated to form two new departments, the Dept. of Social Welfare and the Dept. of Health Services and Hospital Insurance (SBC 1959, c. 38).

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Scope and content

The series consists of the office files of Alex Porteous, the administrative assistant to the Minister of Health (later the Associate Deputy Minister of Mental Health Programs) created between 1948 and 1966. His job description included public relations for the Ministry and the files relate mostly to public relations work for the B.C. Hospital Insurance Service, but also to the Mental Health Services and the Social Welfare Branch.

The files contain speeches of senior ministry officials, press releases, internal publications of several of the branches and divisions and general subject files of research material.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were transferred to the British Columbia Archives in 1976 from the Dept. of Health.


The files arrived in the archives in large files labelled "Papers from the Deputy Minister's Office - miscellaneous". In cases where the contents of a file was thematic the material was kept together, in the case of extremely large and diverse files the contents were broken into logical groups.

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Restrictions on access

These records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other acts and access may be restricted. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

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Accession number(s): 76-G-047 (91-3169)

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