Vancouver, British Columbia — (CNN) It’s been nearly two years since the Vancities’ clinic in Vancouver was closed and closed again.
Now, it’s being reopened as the Canadian Medical Association has confirmed that it will soon be operating a clinic in Canada’s second largest city.
The news comes days after the VANCITY clinic, which closed in late 2014, reopened in Vancouver.
Now the VAC clinic, the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, and a group of local groups will launch an online petition drive to have the Vancouver clinic open again.
“It’s been so long since I’ve had a patient, I’m not sure how I could ever imagine it ever being a thing again,” said Vanciyur Vanciteer-Patient Advocate and Vancouver’s health director Dr. Jody P. Jones.
“But it’s going a long way to providing a safe and welcoming space for people to come to, to get medical care, and to find their own solutions for their health problems.”
Vancity patients, meanwhile, are hopeful that their experiences in Vancouver can serve as a blueprint for others.
“We’re going to keep working with the BC government to make sure that Vancouver continues to be the city that we know it can be,” said Vancouver’s director of health, Dr. Sarah Cote, in a statement.
“We are going to continue to make Vancouver the city it is by bringing in all the people who want to work in health care and provide the same quality of care.”
The Vancys’ clinic closed in early March of last year, shortly after the federal government shut down the Vancouver Medical Association, which was trying to negotiate a deal with the province to reopen.
Vancites medical association said the closure was a result of the union’s inability to make a good-faith offer that would help it maintain its medical autonomy and protect its members’ interests.
The VMA also called on the federal and provincial governments to reopen the VBC clinic, saying that while the union and the province are both interested in the Vancouver Clinic, neither has a clear plan to do so.
Vancities Health Minister Jane Philpott said last week that the province has “a lot of work to do” on its relationship with the VCA.
“That’s what the minister is saying, and that’s what I’m saying,” said Pethott.
“I know there’s some frustration in our community, there’s a lot of people who feel like the federal Government has not taken their concerns seriously.”
The BC Health Authority said in a written statement that it was “confident” that a decision would be made in the coming weeks to reopen Vancty’s clinic, but that the timeline for a decision was still “subject to change.”
The health authority said it is “open to discussing options for opening additional Vanccy’s clinics, including the possibility of a clinic at an adjacent hospital or clinic that can serve all patients who need access to a health clinic.”