Healthy Communities Capacity Building

This project page is devoted to the District’s ongoing efforts to incorporate a healthy communities lens in community planning and provides links to data and resources related to improving local health outcomes.

Healthy Communities Collaboration Agreement

In March 2015, District of Squamish Council endorsed its first Healthy Communities Collaboration Agreement with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). The agreement formalizes the relationship between VCH and Squamish local government and offers a platform for continued engagement and joint collaboration. The agreement was updated in April 2019, and outlines priority health areas and projects to promote health through local policies and actions.

Healthy Built Environment Action Areas & Resources

Early Childhood Development (ECD)
In October 2015, District Council affirmed the health, safety and well-being of children as foundational to the community and directed that an early childhood and family-focused lens be incorporated in upcoming OCP policy, bylaws, built environment and strategic planning. District will work with key stakeholders to review and bring back a Children’s Charter for consideration.

Children's Charter
The Squamish Children's Charter of Rights was created in the fall of 2016 with the help of hundreds of children. Council endorsed the Charter on January 17, 2017. The Charter will be integrated within the Squamish2040 Official Community Plan to ensure that decisions are made in best interests of children and youth, and that children have a voice in the decisions that are relevant and impact them. Learn more about the Children's Charter.

Early Development Index (EDI)
The Early Development Instrument (EDI) is a population-level monitoring tool that measures the developmental health of the kindergarten population across the province. The EDI reports on the percentage of children who are vulnerable on one or more of the 5 scales of the EDI, illustrating the distinct differences in children’s developmental outcomes that exist across communities in BC. The EDI reflects how children’s experiences and environments in the first five years of their lives have affected their development as a whole.

For Squamish, EDI data highlights specific areas of growing concern: For Squamish North (north of Mamquam River) 32% of children are considered vulnerable on one or more developmental scales (showing meaningful increase over time between 2004 and 2016); for Squamish South, 38% of children measured through the EDI showed vulnerabilities on one or more developmental scales (recent decrease from 44% in Wave 5 between 2011-13, however no change in long term trend).

For more information on the patterns and trends in early child development for Squamish, as compared to Sea to Sky and provincial EDI rates:

Other Links & Documents

Food Systems/Food Security

Squamish Valley Agricultural Plan
In partnership with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) and Squamish Food Policy Council, the District of Squamish is developing an Agricultural Plan for Squamish Valley following a successful funding application to the Investment Agricultural Foundation of B.C. The intent of the Squamish Valley Agricultural Plan is to build upon an expressed desire by the agricultural and food systems community to create a plan that will assist agriculture and related sectors. The Agricultural Plan will also build on the work and findings of the Squamish Valley Agricultural Land Use Inventory (ALUI) completed in 2017.

Links & Documents

BC Food Systems Network Video – “Food Policy Collaborations Take Root in Metro Vancouver, Squamish and the Sunshine Coast”


The BC Ministry of Agriculture and its partners conducted an ALUI in the District of Squamish and in Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Electoral Area D in the summer of 2017. The ALUI was funded in part by District of Squamish, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, and Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial territorial initiative.

The ALUI collected detailed data about land use and land cover to inform future agricultural planning and provide a baseline to help measure changes over time on agricultural lands. The ALUI quantified the amount of land used, unavailable, and potentially available for agricultural purposes. The data served as a key input into an Agricultural Water Demand Model that estimated current and future agricultural water needs.

Physical Activity /Active Transportation


From the Health Matters event (June 17, 2015)

  1. My Health My Community Survey Results for Squamish - Dr. Paul Martiquet, Medical Health Officer Vancouver Coastal Health.
  2. Squamish - Promoting Healthy Early Childhood Development - Lianne Carley, Vancouver Coastal Health

 Squamish Learning Lab

In May 2014, the District of Squamish was one of 49 communities awarded a Healthy Communities Capacity Building Grant of $5,000. Funding support was provided from PlanH, a partnership between BC Healthy Communities Society and Healthy Families BC (BC Ministry of Health). PlanH supports local government engagement, cross-sector partnerships and collaborative local action by providing funding, learning opportunities and resources.

The Squamish Learning Lab brought health and municipal partners together to establish a healthy community partnership for mutual learning and collaboration. With Vancouver Coastal Health and other collaborators, the project team engaged in joint learning about the community context for health and well-being, partnership development, and collaborative priority setting for health and well-being in local planning and policy to influence local health outcomes.


  • Build local knowledge about built environment and social/environmental factors for policy and land use planning to influence health outcomes;
  • Explore and analyze tools to apply a health lens to the District’s upcoming OCP review in 2015/16;
  • Establish baseline data, resources and methods for including a health lens in community planning and decision making, and
  • Share and further explore this learning through initial outreach/identification of a healthy communities network map of individuals, agencies and organizations involved in health practice/delivery, programs and initiatives.

Exploring New Tools for Applying a Health Lens to Community Planning

The project team explored several ‘tools’ for their application to the District’s upcoming OCP review and update in 2015/16. 

  1. Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit  – summarizes health evidence related to five physical built environment features (neighbourhood design, transportation networks, natural environments, food systems, and housing). The toolkit links planning principles to health outcomes and informs the design of the built environment and local decision making. The toolkit was launched in early 2014 and to date has been used as a policy lens and checklist for policy and plan review at the local level.
  2. HealthProof  – open-source land use planning model developed by Sustainability Solutions Group for use as an input to OCP and regional planning processes. It looks at built environments and analyses different land use scenarios, patterns of behavior and their implications and health outcomes. Indicators such as walking, cycling, vehicle use, air pollution, noise, access to green space and social capital are reviewed to assess the impact of land use plans and decisions on health outcomes and quantify impacts on population health and health costs (and GHGs).

Other tool/resources were explored to look at other community health components such as social connectedness, inclusion and equity.

The project will significantly inform the upcoming OCP update by providing baseline health data, including priority local health issues and applying a community health lens to assess existing land use plans and policies against key health outcomes. From this, the District will be able to proactively respond to the many challenges and factors influencing community health and social wellbeing and monitor the District’s policies and programs against key community health indicators and targets (to be established).

Engagement & Outreach

Community Health Matters event (June 17, 2015)

For more information, please contact Sarah McJannet (Planner) by email or call 604.815.5096.



BCHC PlanH Logo Tag RGB2VCH 2L 2C


We use cookies to help improve our website for you.