Physical Activity for All: The top five moments from Tuesday’s live event

Johanna Henderson is BC Healthy Communities’ Communications Manager. 

We were thrilled to have nearly 200 folks join us either in-person or via livestream from across BC for Physical Activity for All: Tools and Approaches for Equity in Active Communities. Interested in the top takeaways from the event? We’ve put together a list of the night’s top #PAforAll highlights, as shared by folks on Twitter.

1. Acknowledging the “Elephant in the room”

Community Well-being Specialist Shannon Clarke kicked off the panel presentations with an acknowledgement of the fact that these type of conversations are often—including at this event—led by predominantly white, educated and able-bodied voices. Clarke says that as part of recognizing white privilege in society, those with privilege need to understand their responsibility to use that privilege to lift up the voices of others whose voices may not be heard as often.

2. Getting down to numbers: the best investments in physical activity that municipalities can make

Dr. PJ Naylor, UVic professor and co-chair of the Provincial Physical Activity Collaborative, shared a helpful document from the Global Advocacy for Physical Activity Council that breaks down the best physical activity-related investments that local governments can make. The document focused on creating a “whole-of-community” approach to investing in physical activity, including “urban design regulations and infrastructure that provide for equitable and safe access for recreational physical activity, and recreational and transport-related walking and cycling across the life course.”

3. Seek first to understand, so that your policies and services have a better chance of succeeding.

The Provincial Physical Activity Collaborative is walking its talk in this regard—their Inclusion, Equity and Accessibility subcommittee just completed a province-wide needs assessment with five regional consultations and a large survey to identify the needs of physical activity stakeholders in the province as they relate to equity. Some of the things they identified were the importance of enhancing networks and partnerships to continue the discussion around equity, it also identified that people need tools and resources that support equity, diversity and inclusion training, policy development, staff and volunteer training, and evaluation and monitoring supports. They’re producing a toolkit that is coming soon!

4. Intent is not enough—unintended impacts can have life-altering consequences

Ame-Lia Tamburrini shared information about Health Impact Assessments, an evidence-based tool that informs decision-makers about the potential health effects of policies, projects and programs that they’re considering. In this way, it’s a future-looking approach that examines not only what the health effects of a potential policy are, but what the distribution across the population of those health effects will be, which is where equity comes into play.

5. Use an equity lens to ask: Who benefits? Will anyone be harmed?

At BC Healthy Communities, we use an equity lens in all the work we do—from planning to policy; process to partnerships. Through our PlanH program (a partnership with the Ministry of Health), we recently released an Active Communities Action Guide, which explicitly applies an equity lens to physical activity and provides ideas and recommendations for local governments.

As part of our organizational commitment to equity, we’ve cultivated a reflective practice to build our own learning, allowing us to better examine not just who benefits from a given policy or initiative, but also who may be left out or even harmed in the process. In this way, an equity lens becomes a means for local governments to flag potential issues earlier in the process.

Through our PlanH program, BC Healthy Communities is preparing an equity lens toolkit for release mid-2019. Sign up for our eNews to hear when this and other helpful tools are released.

Bonus: Effective engagement – the foundation of an equitable process

Effective engagement is a vital part of any equitable decision-making process. For more context, check out our reflection on equity in engagement.

Looking for more? Review the livestream via Stream of Consciousness, and see a list of the resources mentioned by panelists during the event on our PlanH website.

Author Credit: Johanna Henderson

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