CEO’s Letter Rather Interesting

At least to the creatively maladjusted.

A letter from Michael Marchbank, the [relatively new] CEO and President of the Fraser Health Authority [FHA], to the CEO of BC Housing concerning the lack of supportive housing in the geographical area  Mr. Marchbank is in charge of  providing healthcare, mental healthcare and substance use services to [FHA] ends up as fodder for media.

A letter that cites numbers – parroted and passed to the public by the media – that may provide strong support to FHA CEO Mr. Marchbank OR are disinformation that misinforms and misleads.


Applying even a little thought to the numbers cited makes it clear that without context and detail the numbers, while suitable fodder for the media and beguiling the public, are at best worthless in arriving at an understanding of either the  current state of supportive housing or the distribution of the homeless.

The media reports indicate that the number used for supportive housing in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority [2731 versus 214] represented supportive housing units throughout Metro Vancouver. However, in arriving at the number of homeless [1960 versus 1163] only the homeless counted in the city of Vancouver itself were attributed to VCHA while the homeless counted in the rest of Metro Vancouver were included in the FHA number.

The Vancouver metropolitan area [Metro Vancouver] is bisected by the FHA and VCHA.  In addition to Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Hope and  Agassiz/Harrison, the Fraser Health Authority  includes Burnaby, Tri-cities [Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody], Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Delta, White Rock, Surrey and Langley

Determining the numbers for housing and the homeless in the manner reported would maximize the discrepancy in housing while minimizing the difference in the number of homeless.

Still, it is the use of the term ‘supportive housing’ without a clear and concise definition of what is meant by the term, that wins the disinformation award.

When dealing with information provided by FHA it is vital to keep in mind that while FHA provides healthcare it is a government bureaucracy and government bureaucracies follow the lead of their governments in dealing with,  papering over, issues by re-definition or gobbledegook.

The number of homeless in Vancouver rising to fast, getting to high? No problem – with the stroke of a pen anyone with access to a bed in a homeless shelter is no longer homeless – at least for government  purposes; a pen stroke which lowers the number of homeless count by the 1800 [1900?] year round shelter beds.

Need to up the number of supportive housing beds. No problem. Just define supportive housing to include shelter beds and voila, 1800 [1900? 2000?] extra supportive housing beds.

Given how misleading the numbers cited for supportive housing units and homeless numbers are; how misleading the use of the term ‘supportive housing’ is; and that the letter didn’t set out the supportive housing needs of the FHA; the primary purpose of the letter does not seem to be addressing the supportive housing needs of the FHA.

The letter seems to be about behaviour that has, unfortunately, become business as usual – before addressing issues, decide who you are going to blame when issues are not addressed and/or things get worse.

Having  been CEO of the FHA long enough to gain an understanding of the issues and challenges the FHA faces and that there are no easy solutions that will give voters the unlimited healthcare they demand without paying for it.

The behaviour of voters has created a system, a government, a society that rewards  those who CYA [Cover Your Ass] and punishes – disposes of – those who face and address issues; keeps those who redefine issues and problems out of existence and sheds those who acknowledge the issue and seek to deal with that reality.


Mr. Marchbank would seem to have recognized that no amount of wilful denial, ignoring of reality or bureaucratic legerdemain will prevent reality from asserting itself; that political realities and voters vigorous assertion their behaviours and actions bear no responsibility for the state of governments, society or Canada…….

….. and concluded any negative outcomes from the issues and challenges facing FHA do not result from the decisions, actions, behaviours or management of FHA but from BC Housing’s failure to provide enough supportive housing.

Not much use in addressing the issues confronting FHA and healthcare throughout BC.   Still a bold political ‘Hail Mary’ ploy.

Still, an interesting ‘Hail Mary’ type ploy.

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