Rural Immersion Site: Burns Lake

Burns Lake

The Town

You won’t find any rush hour traffic here in Burns Lake. Just charming small-town energy and easy walking distance to all the services and amenities you need, including great independent coffee shops, a growing arts scene, vibrant Indigenous heritage, locally owned specialty stores and lively events.

Burns Lake is a rural village in the North-western-Central Interior of British Columbia. The village had a population of 1,659.  There are multiple lakes in town and surrounding area to enjoy.   Burns Lake has affordable living and is approximately a 2 hours drive to Prince George.

The Clinical Experience

Residents would work with the medical team at the Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) medical clinic providing family medicine care in town as well as doing community outreach to the surrounding First Nation communities. There are two physicians that live in town which work for CSFS and three regular locum physicians that come to community monthly as well. The Primary Care clinic in the hospital has three physicians, one of which lives in town and two of which are regular locums.

Burns Lake is a small, tight knit community that offers exposure to prenatal care, chronic disease management, adolescent medicine, addictions medicine, emergency medicine and Indigenous health. The catchment area serves close to 10,000 people. There are no additional specialists in community, leading the on-call physicians to manage complex cases while being able to consult healthcare members in adjacent communities when needed. Physicians on call are responsible for any patients admitted in the ER and have the opportunity to provide inpatient care as well.

There are 6 First Nation communities that practitioners have the privilege of serving in and around the Burns Lake area: Burns Lake Band, Lake Babine Nation, Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Cheslatta Carrier Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn First Nation and Skin Tyee First Nation. There are numerous opportunities to grow as a physician and gain a better understanding of the complexities of rural care, the Social Determinants of Health and health equity.

Burns Lake is also set to be the site of the new Foundry clinic and as such also allows for the keen learner to become involved in youth mental health, additions and adolescent medicine. Currently the program is run out of the highschool, however once the Foundry is open, it will be the new site for adolescent medicine and programming.

There are three clinics in the community of Burns Lake; the sites that the learner are most likely to be involved in are the Primary Care clinic which is part of the hospital as well as the Carrier Sekani Family Services medical clinic. The hospital in town is called the Lakes District Hospital and houses one trauma bay, a procedure room, a gyne room, 4 other ER exam rooms, a palliative care room, 13 acute care beds. There is also a community clinic on the Southside that requires a (free) ferry to get to and a clinic at Wetʼsuwetʼen First Nation which residents would also have the opportunity to work at.

The Community

From fat biking on frozen lakes to mountain biking on epic trails every other season, Burns Lake is a year round adventure playground!

Experience breathtaking winter moments by cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and skating or hockey on a frozen lake. Indoor activities include curling, hockey, rock climbing and fitness training in the new Lakeside Multiplex. Summer activities include camping, fishing, hiking, and world class mountain biking.

Burns Lake is a community that loves to get together and celebrate with events such as Canada Day, Halloween Parties for the kids, Parades, Community Hall Dinners, and Festivals for the performing arts and the Big Pig Bike Festival!

Burns Lake is a great community for families or couples to enjoy small town living or country living on acreage.  

Enjoy the local cultures, no commute and the wonder of nature.


 Site Leads Dr. Samya Vellani and Dr. Privia Randhawa