ARCHIVED - Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch


The primary goal of this Branch is to be a global leader in infectious disease prevention and control. To achieve this goal, the Branch works in close partnership with other federal government agencies, Canada's provinces and territories and with other national and international partners.

The Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch is composed of four program centres, two laboratories, and a corporate policy directorate:

Centre for Food-Borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

This Centre is a leader in the areas of animal-to-human disease transmission, epidemiology, surveillance, disease outbreak management, and emerging environmental public health issues.

The Centre's primary goals are to assess and reduce the risk of food-borne, water-borne, environmental and zoonotic disease in Canada. To help achieve these goals, the Centre works to better understand how Canadians are affected by diseases such as Avian Influenza, West Nile Virus and Giardiasis.

The Centre's key activities include:

  • Conducting national surveillance on gastrointestinal and zoonotic diseases;
  • Undertaking targeted research projects; and
  • Managing Canada's national and international response to food and water-borne disease outbreaks.

The Centre also works with international public health organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization on emerging global food-borne, environmental and zoonotic infectious diseases.


Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Infectious Diseases

This Centre has four key objectives:

  • Prevent, reduce or eliminate vaccine-preventable and infectious respiratory diseases;
  • Reduce the negative impact of emerging and re-emerging respiratory infections;
  • Facilitate pandemic preparedness and response activities on behalf of the Government of Canada; and
  • Maintain public and professional confidence in immunization programs in Canada.

To achieve these objectives, the Centre undertakes four main activities:

  • Nationally coordinated surveillance, epidemiology, and research for vaccine-preventable and respiratory infectious diseases;
  • Implementation of the National Immunization Strategy, including immunization registry development, national goals and objectives for vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccine supply, vaccine safety, public and professional education;
  • Enhancing preparedness, national and international collaboration for disease prevention and control; and
  • Developing guidelines and protocols for disease prevention and control.


Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control

This Centre has two main goals:

  • Decrease the incidence and transmission of communicable diseases and infections; and
  • Improve the health status of those already infected, with a focus on specific populations (e.g., Aboriginals, seniors, children, immigrants and travellers, healthcare patients).

To achieve these goals, the Centre undertakes targeted prevention, control, support and research activities for communicable diseases and infections that can be acquired within both the community and health-care settings.

Key activities include:

  • Developing and implementing HIV/AIDS programs and policies, such as the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada; Surveillance and Risk Assessment National HIV and Retrovirology Laboratories National Laboratory for HIV Immunology
  • Providing information, capacity and support to address community-acquired infections such as Hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis;
  • Undertaking ongoing surveillance, risk assessments and targeted research related to healthcare-associated infections and blood safety; and
  • Undertaking ongoing surveillance (e.g., National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System) to monitor trends in communicable diseases across Canada.

The activities are realized through the following public health actions:

  • Risk assessment / management;
  • Research, including laboratory science;
  • Health promotion, public health policy development, and
  • Prevention and care programs. 
National Microbiology Laboratory

The goal of this Lab, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba is to contribute to infectious disease control at the provincial/territorial, national and international levels. To achieve this goal, the Lab:

  • Combines four public health service laboratory programs;
  • Undertakes research on established, emerging and rare pathogens; and
  • Provides internationally recognized leadership, scientific excellence and public health innovation.

The Lab's key activities include:

  • Surveillance for infectious diseases;
  • Reference microbiology and quality assurance;
  • Preparedness and response to biological threats; and
  • Applied and fundamental research.

The Lab's programs focus on:

  • Bacteriology and enterics, such as E.Coli, Salmonella;
  • Prion diseases, such as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease;
  • Viral diseases, such as Hepatitis, measles;
  • Zoonotic diseases, such as West Nile Virus; and
  • Special pathogens, including Level 4 agents such as Ebola, Marbug, Lassa fever.

The National Microbiology Lab also:

  • Houses Canada's only operational Containment Level 4 laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility capable of accommodating the study of infectious diseases in both humans and animals at the highest level of bio-containment; and
  • Operates a mobile lab unit that can be deployed to provide emergency field support anywhere in the world.

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Laboratory for Food-Borne Zoonoses

This Lab, located in Guelph, Ontario with satellite facilities in Lethbridge, Alberta and St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, focuses on the early mitigation of public health risks for infectious and chronic diseases and illnesses arising from the interaction between humans, animals, and the environment. To achieve its goals, the Lab:

  • Collaborates with universities, federal/provincial/territorial governments, public health partners, industry stakeholders and international organizations; and
  • Develops and uses innovative tools and applications to create science-based information and advice.

The Lab's key activities include:

  • Research;
  • Reference services;
  • Surveillance of diseases and illnesses resulting from the interaction between humans, animals, and the environment; and the
  • Provision of scientific and policy advice through risk analysis, modelling, knowledge translation and policy assessment.

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Centre for Migration and Travel Health and International Relations

The mandate of the Centre for Migration and Travel Health and International Relations (CMTHIR) is to develop and implement policies and programs that protect and promote the health of people living in Canada and travelling abroad as well as people migrating or travelling to Canada. This is achieved through monitoring, verifying, producing and disseminating evidence-based health information to the public, health care providers, and other partners. In addition, the Centre supports the Branch's international relations on cross cutting infectious disease files.

Policy, Planning and Operations Directorate

The goal of this Directorate is to provide support and direction to the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch while ensuring policy coherence and consistency, standardization, and coordination across the Branch's Centres and labs.

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