-- Last Updated: Dec-13-12 2:04 AM EST --
The Broken Group is indeed on the west coast of Vancouver Island (more south than north) but if one stays within the inner island areas, the outer islands offer a substantial amount of protection from weather, waves, and swell. I've paddled there several times and have found that the vast majority of paddlers are rank beginners -- most of them are surprisingly on their first kayak trip. This is not to say that you can't get big conditions -- you certainly can if you're playing around the outer islands and especially when the weather kicks up a bit. Obviously conditions in the summer months are much more sedate than in the winter and shoulder seasons.
I've also paddled extensively in the Gulf Islands and would say that they perhaps require more skill as there are more currents to deal with.
Like anywhere, you need good judgment with respect to weather and area and not paddle beyond your abilities. It's certainly possible to paddle in the Brokens or the Gulf Islands safely with novice level experience -- if you're careful.