Dr. Perry Kendall

Position: Provincial Medical Health Officer

Biography: Born in the United Kingdom in 1943, Dr. Perry Kendall completed his undergraduate medical training at University College Hospital Medical School in 1968 and interned at the Seaman’s Hospital in Greenwich, before spending a year as Senior House Officer at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1972 he moved to Toronto, Canada and spent two years working in general practice and at Toronto’s Hassle Free Clinic.

In 1974 he moved to Vancouver and worked for the Vancouver Health Department’s Pine Free Clinic and East Health Unit while acquiring a Master’s Degree in Health Care Planning and Epidemiology and a Fellowship in Community Medicine. In 1984 he returned to Ontario and was Manager, Disease Control and Epidemiology Services with the Ontario Ministry of Health until 1987, when he returned to British Columbia as Medical Officer of Health for the Capital Regional District, in which capacity he opened one of Canada’s first needle exchange programs. In 1989 he took on the role of Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, a position he held for six years, during which time he pioneered programs for AIDS/HIV and drug abuse prevention, established Harm Reduction as the official City policy for substance abuse and was involved in developing and promoting the City’s comprehensive tobacco control by-laws. In 1991 he received an Addiction Research Foundation Community Achievement Award for leadership in substance abuse prevention. In 1992 he received the Non Smokers Rights Association Award of Merit for outstanding contributions to environmental health and disease prevention.

In 1993 Dr. Kendall spent a year on secondment to the Deputy Minister of Health as Special Adviser on Long Term Care and Population Health.

In March 1995 he was appointed President and CEO of the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, one of six academic health science centres in Toronto and a WHO Collaborating Centre, a position he held until the Foundation’s amalgamation with three other hospitals to form the Addiction and Mental Health Services Corporation on January 23rd, 1998.

In April 1998 he took on the position of Vice-President, Seniors’ Health, with the Capital Health Region in Victoria.

May 3, 1999 Dr. Kendall assumed the position of Provincial Health Officer for the province of British Columbia.

In June 2005 Dr. Kendall was awarded the Order of British Columbia for his contributions to Public Health practice and to harm reduction policy and practice in BC.

The Health Act outlines the role of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). As senior medical health officer for British Columbia (BC), the PHO’s responsibilities include:

  • Advising the Minister and senior members of the ministry on health issues in BC and on the need for legislation, policies and practices concerning those issues;
  • Monitoring the health of the people of BC;
  • Providing information and analyses on health issues;
  • Reporting to the public on health issues, the need for legislation, a change of policy, or practice respecting health in BC.
  • Dr. Kendall participates on a number of committees at the provincial and national level and co-chairs the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network Council.

He is married with two children.