This fall, British Columbians are heading to the polls for our 2020 provincial election. Elections provide a great opportunity for voters to let candidates know about the issues and concerns that matter to them. In the era of COVID-19, BC has many significant challenges to address, so it’s more important than ever for people with pain to make their voices heard in order to ensure pain is on the agenda.
A call for action
This is a critical time to raise our voices and ask for candidates’ commitment to improving care and support for people with chronic pain.
Last year, national polling from the Angus Reid Institute showed that only 32% of British Columbians think our health care system is doing a good job of helping people with pain – and this poll was conducted prior to the COVID-19 crisis, which has further limited access to care. Now, a number of treatments for pain, including nerve blocks and other medical procedures, are even less available due to pandemic restrictions, which has reduced quality of life, increased disability and caused significant distress for people who already live with the daily challenges of pain.
What’s more, people who live with pain and disability are disproportionately impacted by income inequality. The economic fallout from COVID-19 will further worsen this disparity and people with pain are at risk of being left behind in BC’s recovery. We also know that unmanaged pain is a significant driver of substance use, making lack of access to pain care a contributing factor to BC’s worsening overdose crisis.
British Columbians with pain need action from their elected representatives urgently, so please use this election season to make your voice heard.
Add your voice to the conversation
Now is the time to share your story with candidates in your riding and to ask them to support improved care for people with pain. Your experiences, insights and ideas matter to candidates and can help shape improved care for all British Columbians with pain.
There are many ways you can reach out to your local candidates and make sure your voice is heard in this election, including email, phone or social media. To make it easier for you, we have put together this toolkit of ideas and resources – including a letter template you can use, suggested social media posts you can share, and information on how to contact your candidates directly.
Getting in touch with your electoral candidates
Not sure what to say? You can customize the template we’ve created to contact your candidate via email or letter mail. We encourage you to personalize it by explaining why the issue of chronic pain is important to you and what changes you’d like to see in BC.
You can call candidates’ offices (not only those in your riding) to ask questions, raise your concerns, and ask for support for those living with pain. Be sure to tell the person who answers the phone that you’d like a response to your questions, and ensure they have your contact details so they can reply.
Contact details for your candidates
- To find your local candidates, you’ll need to know your Electoral District. If you’re unsure of your Electoral District, you can find it here.
- Once you know your local Electoral District, you can view the full list of candidates for BC’s 2020 Provincial election on the Elections BC website from October 2, 2020 onwards.
- While Elections BC doesn’t list each candidate’s contact information, you can find contact information for current MLAs here.
- You should be able to find contact information for candidates not currently in government by searching their party’s website or by searching online for their campaign website.
Don’t forget to vote
Make sure to vote for the candidate you believe will best address the issues you care about. Register to vote here. Many people with pain prefer to vote by mail if pain makes voting in-person too difficult. This year, due to COVID-19, voting by mail is expected to be more in-demand than ever, so it’s advisable to request your mail-in ballot early. Find out how to register to vote by mail here.