An illustration showing a scene of a town during winter

Seeking appropriate care

Making informed decisions about health care can be critical for your well-being and helps ensure that our health-care system can operate efficiently. Knowing where to go for care can provide you with better, faster care and help alleviate unnecessary strain on health-care resources. Keep in mind that the availability of certain services and resources may differ by region, reflecting the unique health-care landscape of each community.

It's essential to understand the various levels of care available and to determine which is most suitable for your situation. Whether it's a minor ailment or a serious condition, the right care at the right place at the right time can make a significant difference.

Your health-care navigation guide

Here’s how to decide where to seek care, depending on your needs. Remember, while this guide offers a general overview, health-care services and offerings can vary depending on where you live:

  • Personalized care: Your family doctor or nurse practitioner knows your health care needs best. Call their office for hours and instructions. If you don’t have one, register at  
  • General health questions: Call 8-1-1 to speak with a nurse any time or day. 
  • Pharmacy: For prescription refills and treatment for contraceptives and minor ailments, visit B.C. pharmacists treat select minor issues like allergies, cold sores, mild acne, pink eye and urinary tract infections. 
  • Mental health and substance use: Visit
  • Non-life-threatening health concerns: Visit an urgent and primary care centre. Find locations and check hours of operation at  
  • Emergencies: Call 9-1-1 or go to the Emergency Department. Check wait times at
    Note: For pediatric emergencies, BC Children’s Hospital serves kids up to 16 years old, though all emergency departments are equipped to see children. 
  • Vaccinations: Book your flu or COVID-19 shots at or 1-833-838-2323. For drop-in options, check with pharmacies, walk-in clinics or your family practitioner.

Regional services

Health-care services are tailored to meet the needs of each community, which means the type and availability of care may differ from one town to another. For this reason, it is important to seek the most current and specific information for your area.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on services in your area, please select your region below.

Map showing the Vancouver Community of Care


Boundary Road to UBC, and from the north side of the Fraser River to Burrard Inlet.

Services in Vancouver

Map showing the Richmond Community of Care


From the south side of the Fraser River to the north border of Surrey and Delta.​

Services in Richmond

Map showing the Coastal Community of Care


The North Shore, Sunshine Coast and Powell River, Sea-to-Sky Highway, and the Central Coast (Bella Bella and Bella Coola).

Services in the Coastal region

Learn more

Improve your winter wellness

This season, more than ever, it's crucial to take steps to protect your health and well-being.

Put your health first this winter

Learn how to keep yourself healthy and avoid getting sick or injured and know where to seek care when you need it.