Series GR-3518 - Records of the Provincial Health Officer

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Records of the Provincial Health Officer

General material designation

  • multiple media
  • textual record
  • moving images
  • sound recording
  • electronic

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

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1984-1988, 1997-2010 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Provincial Health Officer

Physical description area

Physical description

5.9 m of textual records, 12 CDs, 1 VHS, 1 audio cassette, 1 3 ½ inch floppy disk, 1 mini cassette, 1 DVD.

3 DVD-R computer disks (128 MB, 1.02 GB, 3.37 MB); 2 CD-R computer disks (31 MB, 23MB)

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Biographical history

The provincial health officer (PHO) is the senior public health official in the province and is responsible for the health of the population. The PHO is also responsible for providing independent advice to ministers and public officials on public health issues. Duties of the PHO include recommending actions to improve health and wellness in BC, delivering reports on the health of the population, and working with the BC Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to fulfill legislated mandates on disease control and health protection. Areas of particular interest to the Provincial Health Officer are communicable disease control, environmental health, disease prevention, wellness promotion and community care facilities.

The Provincial Health Officer is responsible for supervising medical health officers and assumes legal authority under the Health Act by the Minister of Health. He or she oversees recruitment and training of medical health officers and their recommendation to the Union Board of Health.

The first Provincial Health Officer was appointed in 1892 (OIC 271-1892). The first explicit legislative reference to a Provincial Health Officer is in the 1911 Health Act (RSBC 1911, c. 102, s. 4) in which it is noted that “a secretary of the Provincial Board, to be known as the ‘Provincial Health Officer’ ….shall be a duly qualified medical practitioner.” Previously, the Health Act had only made mention of a Provincial Board of Health, which should “consist of not more than five members, one of whom shall be the Secretary of the Board, the members thereof shall be appointed from time to time by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.” (RSBC 1897, c. 91).

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of the records of the Provincial Health Officer from 1984-1988 and 1997-2010. These records are arranged into subseries for each Provincial Health Officer.

Subseries 1 is the records of H.M. Richards, Provincial Health Officer from approximately 1981 to 1993, though records only cover the dates 1984-1988. Richards had previously been the Assistant Deputy Minister, Preventative Services. Records may also be those of Ron de Burger the later, Assistant Deputy Minister, Preventative services and Robert Fisk, Acting Provincial Health Officer.

The majority of records relate to epidemiology, AIDS and tuberculosis. Records include correspondence, including letters from concerned members of the public and interest groups, draft and final copies of educational material and pamphlets, reference material, and reports.

Subseries 2 is the records of Dr. Perry Kendall, who served as the Provincial Health Officer from 1999-2018. The series consists largely of news releases, correspondence, annual reports, presentations, and notes dating from 1997 to 2010. The series includes records that address the health of the province’s aboriginal population, air quality, fall prevention for the elderly, infant mortality, teenage obesity and activity levels, teenagers’ sex education, and a provincial drug strategy. The series also consists of a VHS recording of Dr. Kendall at a December 15, 2004 press event, as well as a DVD and audio dubbing master for the short informative film “Step by Step : preventing falls among the elderly.”

The records in subseries 2 are arranged by project and were originally housed in file folders within expandable project folders. Files have been removed from the expandable folders due to over-stuffing, however, the first half of each file title reflects the title of the expandable file.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from the Ministry of Health in 2000 and 2016; 2017 and 2019.


Records are arranged by project and/or topic.

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Availability of other formats

Contents of CDs were checked against the contents of files. In most cases, the contents of the CDs duplicated the print records. In the few cases that the CDs contained unique material, it was printed off and included in the file with the CD with a note on it.

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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General note

Accession number(s) : 96-0513, 91-2355

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