Experts on BC budget

​Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC. (Credit: Government of BC)

The following University of Victoria experts are available to media for comment on the provincial budget being tabled April 20, including on key themes related to the pandemic, mental health supports and accessible health care; inequality, homelessness and housing affordability; drug decriminalization, stigma and overdose prevention; economic recovery and fiscal policy; clean energy, blue economy and climate action:

Bernie Pauly (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research/Nursing) is an expert in public health policy and harm-reduction programs related to substance use, poverty and homelessness. She focuses on working in collaboration with communities impacted by these issues in the design and development of overdose prevention policies, services and programs to increase their effectiveness and reduce inequities. She can discuss the importance of including Housing First principles and drug decriminalization in the provincial budget, including critical elements of effective safer supply programs to reduce overdose deaths. (Email at

Bruce Wallace (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research/Social Work) is an expert in issues related to decriminalization of drugs through the use of services that are driven and designed by drug users themselves, including overdose prevention and drug-checking technology. In collaboration with UVic experts in chemistry, he is leading the Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project, which develops evidence-based drug-checking services in the community as part of efforts to reduce harms, prevent overdoses and increase access to a safer supply. (Email at

Curran Crawford (Institute for Integrated Energy Systems/Mechanical Engineering) is an expert in sustainable energy systems analysis and optimization focusing on designing robust solutions. He can discuss renewable electricity generation, transportation electrification, energy storage and carbon capture and storage/utilization and the associated implications for renewable energy integration on- and off-grid. (Email at

Karen Urbanoski (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research/Public Health and Social Policy) is the Canada Research Chair in Substance Use, Addictions and Health Services Research and an expert in harm-reduction and treatment services. Her research is conducted in collaboration with people who use drugs, with a focus on women. She can discuss the importance of funding harm-reduction initiatives, such as overdose prevention and safer supply as part of the treatment services continuum, as well as why substance-use services should also integrate housing to better serve women who are severely impacted by stigma. (Email at

Kate Moran (Ocean Networks Canada) is an expert in innovative ocean technology that supports marine protection, aquaculture and fisheries, earthquake early-warning, coastal communities and ecosystem health. She can also speak about ocean technology and BC marine industries, as well as ocean-based climate mitigation technologies and Canada’s role in a sustainable blue economy. (Email at

Katya Rhodes (Public Administration/Institute for Integrated Energy Systems) studies low-carbon economy transitions and climate-policy design. Prior to UVic, she led greenhouse gas emissions modelling and economic analyses for the provincial CleanBC plan. She can speak about her current research investigating policies for effective, inclusive and politically acceptable pathways to mitigate climate change as the world transitions to a post-pandemic future. (Email at

Kelli Stajduhar (Nursing/Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health) is an expert in palliative approaches to care in aging and community health, with a focus on end-of-life services to individuals who are homeless or close to, who struggle to access care. She can speak to issues related to care for aging populations, home- and community-based care and long-term care sectors, as well as care for vulnerable and marginalized populations in need of palliative care. (Email at

Marilou Gagnon (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research/Nursing) is an expert in harm reduction and nursing practice. She can speak to the impact of criminalization on the provision of care and why nurses are advocating for decriminalization. She led the development of a joint position statement calling for the decriminalization of people who use drugs in BC, released in 2019 by the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of British Columbia and the Harm Reduction Nurses Association. (Email at

Rob Gillezeau (Economics) is an economist with broad expertise in public policy, including fiscal policy, employment, taxation and social programs. He can comment on the implications of the budget in these areas, as well as government fiscal frameworks. (Email at

Susan Duncan (Nursing) is an expert in public health nursing, health policy and nursing education. As director of UVic’s School of Nursing, she works closely with Island Health and the BC government to ensure nursing programs are sustained during the COVID-19 response. She can speak to the importance of educating a strong nursing workforce in present and post-pandemic contexts. (Email at

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Media contacts

Anne MacLaurin (Social Sciences Communications) at 250-217-4259 or

Suzanne Ahearne (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-6139 or

In this story

Keywords: politics, budget, Ocean Networks Canada, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health

People: Bernie Pauly, Bruce Wallace, Curran Crawford, Karen Urbanoski, Kate Moran, Katya Rhodes, Kelli Stajduhar, Marilou Gagnon, Rob Gillezeau, Susan Duncan

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