Our Current Focus

The Heart and Stroke Foundation advocates for sound public health policies and programs that lead to effective disease prevention, optimal treatment and ‘best practice’ care for individuals affected by heart disease and stroke. (Best practices in medicine refers to clinical practices that are based on objective and comprehensive evidence and research available with the goal of improving performance and patient outcome.)

Moreover, Advocacy & Stakeholder Relations remains flexible to accommodate new project work and emerging opportunities based on the government’s agenda and their potential alignment and impact with Foundation mission priorities.

Below are our most current priorities.

Preventing Disease



Children & Youth

A strategic policy platform and advocacy campaign that encourage healthy and active children and youth.

  • Three BC-specific position statements were developed and disseminated to policy and decision-makers.
    • Healthy School Environments
    • Healthy Community Design
    • Marketing to Children - a focused campaign to denormalize the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children
  • Together with our partner, the Childhood Obesity Foundation, a comprehensive strategy to educate youth, children, parents, health professionals and other key stakeholders about the prevalence and impacts of marketing unhealthy foods to children and youth is being developed. The goal? To denormalize the practice of marketing unhealthy foods to young people, and for productive dialogue and cross-sector action to address this issue.

Tobacco Control

The Clean Air Coalition of BC is a partnership between the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the BC Lung Association that works with community, regional and national groups to prevent, denormalize, protect and encourage smoking cessation by advocating for stricter provincial tobacco control.

  • Increased smoke-free housing – Advocating for increased options for smoke-free housing in multi-unit dwellings across BC. Includes:
    • Raising awareness of the legality of smoke-free policy and the tremendous unmet demand for smoke-free living as well as providing resources and tools to help put smoke-free policies in place.
    • Providing tools and resources to landlords and tenants to make their buildings smoke-free.
  • Retail reform – Advocating for changes to the way tobacco is currently sold such as retail buffer zones around schools, fewer tobacco vendors and / or stiffer penalties for vendor infractions.
  • Tobacco-free pharmacies – Advocating for the ban of the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in pharmacies and stores containing pharmacies by leveraging supportive media coverage.
  • Smoke-free public places – Advocating for smoke-free outdoor public spaces such as parks, playgrounds, beaches and customer service patios of restaurants and bars by providing support and resources to municipalities on how to implement bylaws.  

    Saving Lives



    Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) Program


    Province-wide increase in public access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and introduction of legislation that will make AEDs mandatory in public spaces. The proposed law would also require the registration of public AEDs in the BC PAD Program Registry. This registry is integrated into the Computer Aided Dispatch system used by dispatchers to direct emergency medical services throughout the province. Dispatchers can advise a caller of the closest registered AED, direct the caller to either retrieve the AED or ask another bystander to and provide instructions on how to use the AED to care for the patient until paramedics arrive. Registrants are required to complete monthly maintenance checks on their AEDs and receive email reminders to change AED pads and batteries as well as post-incident support from BCEHS staff.

    Stroke Public Awareness

    Increasing public understanding and awareness of the Foundation’s new recognition system called FAST (Face, Arm, Speech, Time). This new system will further help British Columbians recognize, recall and respond to signs of stroke by arriving at the hospital in time to be eligible for life-saving treatment.

    Stroke Care

    The Foundation continues to work to improve stroke care in the province through a number of advocacy initiatives.

    • Member of the Provincial Stroke Steering Committee advocating for the uptake of stroke care best practices.
    • Member of the Guidelines and Protocols Advisory Committee (GPAC) working group revising the existing stroke / TIA guideline and providing a patient perspective. We also look for ways to improve the uptake of these guidelines by physicians and ensure that they are reinforced and embedded into primary care practice.
    • Member of the national Federal / Provincial / Territorial Advisory Group on stroke care improvement in Canada.
    • Development of national and provincial public awareness campaigns that seek to educate the public on recognizing the signs of stroke and reacting appropriately.
    • Monitoring and providing ongoing feedback to decision-makers about the performance of stroke care delivery in the province.

    Learn More