The Public Health Agency of Canada (the Agency) is the main Government of Canada agency responsible for public health in Canada. The Agency's primary goal is to strengthen Canada's capacity to protect and improve the health of Canadians and to help reduce pressures on the health-care system. To do this, the Agency is working to build an effective public health system that enables Canadians to achieve better health and well-being in their daily lives by promoting good health, helping prevent and control chronic diseases and injury, and protecting Canadians from infectious diseases and other threats to their health. The Agency is also committed to reducing health disparities between the most advantaged and disadvantaged Canadians.
Because public health is a shared responsibility, the Agency works in close collaboration with all levels of government (provincial, territorial and municipal) to build on each others' skills and strengths. The Agency also works closely with non-government organizations, including civil society and business, and other countries and international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) to share knowledge, expertise and experiences.
The Agency was established in September 2004, in part as a response to the SARS outbreak in 2003, and was confirmed as a legal entity in December 2006 by the Public Health Agency of Canada Act.
To address concerns about human pathogens and toxins, Parliament passed the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act in 2009. The Agency is charged with enforcing the Act and the supporting Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations which came into force in 2015.
The Agency is one of five departments and agencies that make up the federal government's Health Portfolio and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Health. The Agency is managed by the President. The Chief Public Health Officer is the lead health professional of the Government of Canada in relation to public health.
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