Population Health Policy and Projects Lead, Vancouver Coastal Health
Wes Regan has worked in community economic development, social planning and public health since 2009. In the lead up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games Wes’ discovered his passion for social enterprise and community development at Building Opportunities With Business, the community agency leading the implementation of the DTES multi-governmental Vancouver Agreement economic revitalization strategy. From there he became the incorporating Executive Director for the Hastings Crossing BIA, Canada’s first Social Innovation Business Improvement Association. At HxBIA he led its mandate of economic and social inclusion, creative place-making and place activation, and improving relations between small businesses and DTES low-income residents, activists and advocates until 2015. From here Wes made the jump back to government by becoming the City of Vancouver’s first Community Economic Development (CED) Planner where he oversaw the creation of the DTES CED Strategy, the development of the City’s Community Benefits Agreement Policy, and led various other poverty reduction and social planning initiatives. This included serving as the City’s lead author on its submission to the Government of Canada on the creation of the first national poverty reduction strategy.
While at the City he was Co-Host and Master of Ceremonies for the Tamarack Foundation’s Cities Reducing Poverty Western Canada Conference, the SFU Community Economic Development “Hopeful Economics” Summit, and was a presenter and panelist at numerous conferences and forums including the International Downtown Association’s Yearly Congress in New York, the CEDNET 2017 EconoUs Conference in Calgary, and the Local Government Management Association’s Yearly AGM in Vancouver in 2019.
In 2019 Wes transitioned to the Office of the Chief MHO at Vancouver Coastal Health where he has overseen internal capacity building efforts through the Healthy Public Policy Renewal Project, and where he has served as Policy & Projects Lead assigned to Vancouver, TransLink, and Metro Vancouver. He is also leading the creation of the VCH Policy Monitoring Framework in partnership with the VCH Public Health Surveillance Unit. He was also of course, contact tracing and assisting in the project management of various public health interventions, including immunization of high-risk workplaces in 2020 and 2021.
Director Emeritus of Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development Programs, Wes occasionally teaches at SFU and at Langara College where he is a member of the Faculty of Geography and Geology. He completed undergraduate degrees in geography and urban geography at Langara College and Simon Fraser University respectively and continued on at SFU to graduate with an interdisciplinary Masters in Urban Studies where his thesis examined the relationships between redevelopment and retail gentrification along Vancouver’s Main Street. In 2021 began his PhD studies at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP). There his research is focused on issues of public trust and distrust of government, and the impacts of digital disinformation, misinformation, and conspiracism on public deliberation and public engagement relating to sustainability planning and public health.
Wes loves to get outside and trail run, hike, or otherwise breathe in the fresh air, sometimes practicing archery, getting in the occasional round of golf, or cycling the lower mainland’s ever expanding bike infrastructure. He’s a devoted Whitecaps and Seahawks fan, a begrudging and a reluctant fair weather bandwagon Canucks fan. You can occasionally catch him on a patio on the Drive or Main Street having lively discussions about all sorts of dry policy topics or bizarre outlandish esoteric curiosities. This is all the more curious as he actually lives in Burnaby with his wife and cats.