When Dr. Perry Kendall joined the BCCDC Foundation team as a Board Director in 2018, we felt pretty special that he wanted to share his time, expertise and public health wisdom with us. But now we find ourselves even more pleased as we get to congratulate Perry on yet another amazing recognition for his contributions to public health!

Last week, Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, announced 83 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Among the list of Members of the Order of Canada is our very own Dr. Perry Kendall, CM, OBC.

The Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest honours. Dr. Kendall has been recognized for his leadership in the public health sphere both in British Columbia and across the country, notably as an advocate for harm reduction and as a champion for indigenous health.

Dr. Kendall has been one of BC’s most outspoken voices in the ongoing opioid crisis, having been the one to declare the situation a public health emergency in 2016…which unfortunately continues today. He presided over the opening of Insite in Vancouver, the first legal supervised injection site in North America. He said in a 2018 interview with CBC, that one of the main challenges now is changing public opinion. “Over 80% of the people who are now dying are dying because they are using drugs alone. I think a lot of that has to do with the stigma around illegal drug use and dependency.” 

Dr. Kendall also helped create the First Nations Health Authority, a province-wide body dedicated to providing health, addiction and prevention services for First Nations people – the only one of its kind in Canada. 

Perry was appointed as the first Provincial Health Officer for BC in 1999 and held this position for nearly 20 years. During this time, British Columbians dealt with SARS, the H1N1 pandemic, the 2010 Winter Olympics emergency preparedness, as well as the start of the overdose crisis, with Dr Kendall at the helm – advising the public on health issues and the need for legislation and policy/practice change on various public health issues.

We couldn’t be more proud of Dr. Kendall, and to have him on our Board of Directors. For a more complete bio of Dr. Kendall, and all of our Board Members, click through to our Board Member listings

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