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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The demographic, economic and health fabric of mining communities in British Columbia, Canada Shandro, Janis


A significant number of communities in British Columbia (BC) are founded on mineral development and are subject to variable economic boom-and-bust cycles with implications for sustainability and community health. There were three main objectives of this multi-method PhD dissertation. The first was to quantitatively examine community level indicators describing economic, sustainability, and demographic characteristics (gained from Canadian Census data) of 31 BC rural resource based communities (with a focus on mining communities) during a period of time (1991 to 2001) when BC resource sectors experienced an economic downturn. The second was to assess the relationship between exposure to declining economic conditions and acute cardiovascular disease, chronic cardiovascular disease, and mental health outcomes in 29 BC rural resource-based using Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey data and Ministry of Health data over the same time period, again with a focus on mining. The third objective was to qualitatively investigate the experiences of health and social service providers using interviews, with respect to community health issues and the boom-bust mining cycle in a Northern remote coal mining community in British Columbia. During the decade under study, demographic and economic indicators indicated that mining communities were dependent on, and vulnerable to, economic activities and identified the need to strategize the sustainability of mining communities in British Columbia. Health data indicated that declining and bust economic conditions had a significant negative impact on the prevalence of acute cardiovascular disease and mental disorders in mining communities. Qualitative data revealed that the mining boom-bust cycle had negative effects on community health issues, and community health service provision. This dissertation concludes by proposing strategic opportunities aimed at the enhancement of mining community health and sustainability for policy-makers, communities, the mining industry and researchers to consider.

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