ARCHIVED - Canada-US Relations

Because of our proximity and for political, social, cultural and scientific reasons, the US is probably the most important of Health Canada's (HC) foreign partners. Considering the proximity of our countries, our shared and common health interests with the US and HC's mandate, the Department interfaces with US government's counterpart organizations (e.g.Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Consumer Product Safety Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), etc) on a continuing basis.

These relations are based on established formal bilateral or multilateral institutions (e.g. NAFTA Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Technical Working Group on pesticides) and agreements (e.g. FNIHB's MOU with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on aboriginal health and HPFB's MOU with the Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) on therapeutic products). Additionally, there is considerable informal organization-to-organization or person-to-person (e.g. between researchers) collaboration. Bilateral issues are usually dealt with directly with US counterpart organizations , with little direct involvement of the Canadian or American Embassies. Issues are also dealt with through multilateral institutions (e.g. World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), OECD Working Group on Pesticides).

A departmental HC-US Relations Network was established in 2004 to ensure a more efficient exchange of information, consultation and coordination within HC and with its agencies. This reflects in part views expressed by departmental participants in the 2002-2003 survey on sharing international information and knowledge in HC.

With the continued US priority given to homeland security, and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US administration's policies on health have shifted in favour of public health security. Canada is working collaboratively with the US to meet new public health security challenges, bilaterally with counterpart US government agencies such as HHS, through the Smart Border Initiative with DHS; trilaterally with the US and Mexico under the Trilateral Cooperation - Emergency and Preparedness Working Group, to enhance the ability to respond to emergencies related to foods, drugs, medical devices, biologics and veterinary products that may affect more than one participating countries; and multilaterally through initiatives such as the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI), an initiative including G7 countries and Mexico, as well as the WHO and the European Union.

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