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August 2021 Pain BC Newsletter
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith
Last month, the Government of Canada announced the 2021 call for proposals for Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). The program provides financial support to projects addressing substance use, including harm reduction and treatment initiatives across the country. This year, SUAP announced $116 million will be awarded to initiatives serving the priority populations outlined in its call for proposals, including Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, LGBTQ2S communities and, for the first time, people living with chronic pain.

The inclusion of people living with pain as a priority population is long overdue. We know unmanaged pain can be a significant driver of substance use and overdose. This announcement also demonstrates the calls to action outlined in the Canadian Pain Task Force’s third report to Health Canada are being heard.

The 2021 SUAP call for proposals is open to Canadian non-profit health organizations, registered charities, institutions, other levels of governments, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit non-profit organizations. The deadline to submit proposals is September 24, 2021. If you are involved in initiatives that support people living with pain and address substance use (either through upstream efforts to prevent it, through treatment or through harm reduction), I encourage you to learn more and submit a proposal for funding.

It’s encouraging to see federal momentum building around the issue of unmanaged pain in response to the Canadian Pain Task Force’s recommendations. There are many more targeted actions outlined in An Action Plan for Pain in Canada that will improve health outcomes for the nearly eight million people who live with pain in Canada. Whether you live with pain or are a caregiver, a health care provider, or an organization who cares about the issue of pain, I encourage you to read the report and join the thousands of individuals and organizations across the country calling for further action. Learn more about how you can get involved at
Pain BC programs, resources and updates
The following programs and initiatives are funded, in whole or in part, by the Province of British Columbia: Coaching for Health, chronic pain management workshops for health care providers, Gentle Movement and Relaxation course, Live Plan Be, Making Sense of Pain, Pain BC's monthly webinars for health care providers, Pain Foundations, Pain Support and Wellness Groups, Pain Support Line and the Pain Waves podcast.
Take action to #PrioritizePain this election
New nonpartisan toolkit aims to get pain on the agenda this election

Canada’s 2021 federal election is a critical time to raise awareness of chronic pain. Your experiences, insights and ideas matter to political candidates and can help improve care for Canadians with pain.

That’s why we’ve worked with our partners from the #PrioritizePain campaign to launch a nonpartisan toolkit to help individuals and organizations be heard on the issue of pain during Canada’s federal election. The toolkit contains French and English social media tools, including sample messages and social media graphics, a customizable letter template to write to your local candidates, and resources to find your candidates and their contact information. We encourage you to add your voice to the conversation by using the tools and the hashtag #PrioritizePain.
How memory shapes childhood pain and what parents can do about it
New Pain Waves podcast episode

In this month’s episode of the Pain Waves podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Melanie Noel, an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary. She talks to us about her latest research on children’s memories of pain and how she is teaching parents to talk to their kids differently about pain in order to foster more positive memories. She also shares what’s next for her research on children’s pain and how her recent appointment as the first-ever Killam Memorial Emerging Leader Chair will enable her to take her research and work to new heights.
2021 Interdisciplinary Pain Education Day: We've got your back!
Virtual conference on October 22, 2021

We're excited to partner with Providence Health Care again this year to offer an incredible day of learning about back pain all without leaving your home or office! The Interdisciplinary Pain Education Day (IPED) annual conference features presentations from renowned health care providers, researchers and people with pain. This year's conference theme is dedicated to back pain and will feature:

  • Keynote presentations from patient advocate Joletta Belton and incoming Canadian Pain Society president Dr. John Pereira
  • Plenary presentations from Drs. Tasha Stanton, Owen Williamson, and Vishal Varshney
  • Seven concurrent workshops to learn about chronic back pain and apply practical skills to your practice
  • Poster presentations highlighting projects and research on chronic low back pain
  • A patient panel


  • $50.00 for health care providers, health researchers and the general public until September 15, 2021
  • $10.00 for people living with pain and students (please note: free registration is available for people with pain who are unable to pay the $10 fee)

Registration is open and anyone with an interest is invited to attend!
Opportunities to join the Pain BC team

We're currently looking for two individuals to join our growing team. Please read below for the available positions. If you or anyone you know may be interested, we encourage you to apply or share.

Clinical Counsellor

We're looking for a full-time counsellor or social worker to lead the delivery of Pain BC's Coaching for Health program in a safe, consultative, trauma-informed, and evidence-based manner. This includes supporting our volunteer coaches by responding to ad-hoc requests, running debrief sessions, and monitoring the quality of coaching being provided.
Instructional Designer

We're looking for a full-time, temporary Instructional Designer who can help design Pain BC’s educational programs for health care providers, people living with pain, and our volunteer community.
Our supports for people with pain
Access our free pain self-management resources, including evidence-based articles, assessment tools, and an anonymous discussion forum.
Connect with Pain Support Line staff to talk about your pain, find information on community resources, learn about pain and self-management, and much more.
Join an online group and build a community of support while learning about pain, pain management and coping strategies.
Receive one-on-one phone support and mentorship from a coach who will help you learn about self-management, regaining function and improving your well-being.
Gentle Movement @ Home: Guided movement and relaxation for pain during COVID-19 (and beyond)

Gentle Movement @ Home online sessions provide guided movement and relaxation designed to help people with persistent pain learn to feel safe to move again. Topics include breath awareness and regulation, body tension regulation, and movement and relaxation techniques in both seated and standing positions.

The full collection of Gentle Movement @ Home videos are available to view for free via our YouTube channel.
Upcoming Pain BC and partner workshops, webinars and courses for health care providers
Pain Foundations for Allied Health Providers
Pain Foundations for Allied Health Providers is an online course designed for allied health care providers to improve their understanding of chronic pain and how to address the challenges of pain assessment and treatment. This practical, compact course allows learners to develop clinically relevant approaches to chronic pain management and develop a strong grounding in pain science to support further exploration. The course is free for health care providers in BC and offered at a modest cost for providers outside of BC.

Pain Foundations for Primary Care Providers
This practical, compact course allows physicians and nurse practitioners to develop clinically relevant approaches to chronic pain management, including non-pharmacological treatments and prescribing best practices. Learners will develop a strong grounding in pain science to support further exploration. The course is free for primary care providers in BC and offered at a modest cost for physicians and nurse practitioners outside of BC.

Gentle Movement and Relaxation course
This free, online course will equip physiotherapists and other therapeutic movement professionals with practical knowledge and teaching resources to lead their own movement and relaxation programs for people living with chronic pain.

The Gentle Movement and Relaxation course is currently available to BC health care providers only.

Other programs, opportunities and resources
Substance use and the workplace: A toolkit to support people in the trades

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has created a toolkit intended to support employers in addressing employee substance use in the trades, which includes a list of prevention resources, education resources and a section on pain management.
Hacking Pain: A Skunkworks Project
In-person event on November 26-27, 2021

Providence Health Care Research Institute is hosting its first-ever Hacking Pain event on November 26 and 27, 2021 to tackle some of the challenges faced by people with lived experience and the community when dealing with pain. People from a diverse range of backgrounds, including people with pain, caregivers and health care providers, are invited to attend and work together to come up with solutions for challenges related to pain. Register to participate or submit a pain-related problem by September 20, 2021.
Opportunities to join the Disability Foundation

The Disability Foundation and affiliated societies are hiring people with disabilities for paid part-time positions in communications, fundraising, operations, data entry and more! Anyone interested in joining their team is encouraged to submit their resume to
Pain Society of Alberta World Pain Summit
October 15-17, 2021

The Pain Society of Alberta is hosting the World Pain Summit virtually on October 15-17, 2021. Registration costs range from $49.00 to $99.00 for health care providers, while people living with pain and medical students are invited to attend for free.
Research and engagement opportunities
Study: Immersive multimedia experiences for people with cancer-related pain

The UBC School of Nursing and SFU School of Interactive Arts + Technology are looking for people with cancer, who also experience chronic pain, to test the use of immersive multimedia experiences as a form of pain management. Research participants can complete the study from their homes and will be provided with an honorarium for their time. More information on the study, including eligibility, can be accessed here. To apply, please contact Crystal Sun, Project Manager at
Share your feedback: The Disability Inclusion Action Plan
Deadline to submit feedback extended until September 30, 2021

The Government of Canada has launched a public consultation to hear from Canadians on how it can improve the lives of people with disabilities. Input received from this consultation will support the development of a Disability Inclusion Action Plan. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to share their feedback before the September 30, 2021 deadline.
Online study: Chronic pain and mental health in families of Canadian veterans

The Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans, University of Calgary, and PEAK Champions for Kids' Pain are conducting an online study to learn more about pain and resilience in Canadian veterans and their families. Anyone interested in learning more or applying is encouraged to email
In the news
Migraine, cluster headache and a difficult journey through the healthcare system - A patient perspective
A person with lived experience describes what it's like to live with both migraine and cluster headaches.
What ME/CFS hypersensitivity feels like
The author of this article explains hypersensitivity, an often-misunderstood symptom of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.
Study: Association of dose tapering with drug poisoning or mental health crises among patients prescribed long-term opioids
This recent US study finds patients abruptly tapered off of long-term opioid medications are at an increased risk for suicide and/or drug poisoning.
About Kids Health article: Headache
This Sick Kids article highlights common reasons why children experience headaches and what parents can do to help alleviate the pain.
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