Series GR-0960 - Operational records

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Operational records

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  • textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the series.

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  • 1946-2010 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Mental Health Services

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Physical description

7.4 m of textual records

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(1950-1967; 1980-)

Biographical history

The provision of mental health services had its beginning in October 1872 when the Royal Hospital in Victoria was designated as the first Provincial Asylum under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Secretary.

On April 1, 1950 the British Columbia Mental Health Service was formally established and various mental health activities were amalgamated including New Westminster Hospital (which became Woodlands School), Colquitz Provincial Mental Hospital for the Criminally Insane (in Victoria), Essondale (including Crease clinic) and the Home for the Aged (in Coquitlam, Vernon and Terrace).

In 1959, Mental Health Services was transferred to the Dept. of Health Services and Hospital Insurance. The name was changed in 1967 to Mental Health Branch and changed again in 1975 to Mental Health Programs. The name reverted to Mental Health Services in 1980.

Between 1959 and 1968 the positions of Director and Deputy Minister were held by the same person. In 1968 the positions were separated, with Dr. H.W. Bridge as the Director of Mental Health Services, located in Vancouver, and Dr. F.G. Tucker as the Deputy Minister, located in Victoria. In September 1971 the position of Director was terminated. The statutory obligations of the Director were assumed by the Deputy Minister.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series consists of Mental Health Services operational records. Records include agendas and minutes, correspondence, personnel files, and reports for a variety of mental health facilities across the province. The records were created between 1946 and 2010 and document the changing nature of mental health service delivery in the province. The series includes the admissions and discharge register for Hollywood Hospital for the years 1968 to 1973, and also consists of plans and policy documents for the transition from a institutional model of care to one centered on community-based boarding and group homes.

The series was originally arranged into 16 subseries in the 1990s. Further accruals were arranged to fit the existing model with one additional subseries added to accommodate financial records. Several of the existing subseries were merged in 2016 to simplify and streamline the arrangement. Subseries that were merged include “Mental Health Centres : monthly reports” and “Victoria Mental Health Centre,” which became “Mental Health Centres.” The “Glendale Lodge/Hospital” and “Skeenaview Hospital” subseries were merged to become the “Other facilities and services” subseries. The scope of the original “Meetings” subseries was expanded to include the records of a variety of committees, and the “Reports” subseries was expanded to include policy and planning documents, including those relating directly to patient care. The series is now arranged into 13 subseries : Boarding home and group home programmes; comptroller records; correspondence; facilities : Riverview Hospital; facilities : other mental health facilities and services; finance, grants, and budget; meetings and committees; mental health centres; Mental Health Services branch; miscellaneous; personnel; reports, programs, and planning; and youth mental health.

The Boarding Homes subseries (accessions 88-0056 and 93-4010) documents the shift towards de-institutionalization and the provision of mental health services within the community. The subseries consists of monthly reports and planning and policy documents.

The Comptroller subseries (88-0056) consists of monthly reports written between 1970 and 1972.

The Correspondence subseries (88-0056, 93-4010 and 95-4372) includes correspondence outward, with attachments, from the Mental Health Branch. It also includes material addressed to, or coming from the Health Minister and circulated through the Branch for action or information. Most correspondence on the Branch side is from the Deputy Minister of Mental Health, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Mental Health, and a Branch Administrative officer.

The Riverview Hospital subseries (88-0056, 93-4010, 95-4372, and 96-7394) consists of correspondence, monthly reports, planning documents and statistical files. The records date from the early 1970s until just prior to the hospital’s 2012 closure. Records include the statistical schedule of the 1971 census (no nominal or personal information is included), monthly reports, correspondence, and a set of redevelopment planning files from the 1990s and 2000s.

The Other Facilities and Services subseries (88-0056, 93-4010, 95-4372, and 95-9744) consists of minutes, correspondence, and monthly reports pertaining to Glendale Lodge, Skeenaview Hospital, Valleyview Hospital, Dellview Hospital and Skeleem Lodge, in addition to records documenting home support, outreach and mental health care in smaller communities. The series also consists of the 1968-1973 admissions and discharges register of Hollywood Hospital.

The Finance, Grants and Budget subseries (93-4010) consists of correspondence and other records regarding community grants, lottery fund grants, and general finances for mental health facilities.

The Meetings and Committees subseries (88-0056, 94-4010, 95-4372, and 95-9744) consists of meeting agendas and minutes for a variety of committees. The subseries also consists of records pertaining to various related organizations, such as the Alcoholic Foundation of BC and the BC Medical Association.

The Mental Health Centres subseries (88-0056 and 93-4010) consists of records pertaining to a variety of small facilities and sub-offices located across the province. The records are arranged in alphabetical order by location. The Skeena Mental Health Centre files contain additional reports such as those describing meetings, physical plant proposals, etc.

The Mental Health Services branch subseries (88-0056 and 93-4010) consists of records relating directly to the branch’s operation. The series includes records relating to staff meetings and the branch’s establishment.

The Miscellaneous subseries (88-0056 and 93-4010) consists of copies of legislation and research conducted by staff at the Mental Health Services branch. Records also include proposed amendments and improvements to the mental health diagnostic code.

The Personnel subseries (88-0056 and 93-4010) consists of staff personnel files, files for post-graduate training, and files documenting the appointment and resignation of physicians. Personnel files from accession 93-4010 are arranged in alphabetical files organized by the first letter of the surname.

The Reports, Programs and Planning subseries (88-0056, 93-4010, 95-4372, 95-9744, and 96-8412) consists of monthly reports from other government departments in addition to research reports used by the branch for policy development. Records dating to the 2000s include policy development, government responses to crises such as crystal meth and other drug addictions, and best practices for treatment.

The Youth Mental Health subseries (88-0056, 93-4010, 95-4372 and 95-9744) consists of monthly reports, statistics, and correspondence regarding programs for youth and the BC Youth Development Centre “The Maples.”

The series is covered by ORCS 36100-20. However, a small number of records are also covered by ORCS 36200-20, 36300-40, and 36400-30, as well as ARCS 280-30 and 350-25. Due to the interrelated nature of the records and the existing arrangement structure, it was decided to keep all records within the same series.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred in multiple accessions from the Ministry of Health in 1977, 1998, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2015.


As accession 88-0056 was already arranged into multiple subseries, the archivist made every attempt to arrange the accruals in the same fashion. Box lists for the individual accessions are available.

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Restrictions on access

These records are restricted. Please contact the BC Archives for information about access.

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Associated materials

Hollywood Hospital fonds : PR-2316
Provincial mental hospital registers : GR-3019

Related materials


General note

Accession number(s): 88-0056, 93-4010, 95-4372, 95-9744, 96-7394, 96-8412.

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