Government of Canada Appoints Chief Public Health Officer

News Release

June 26, 2017                    Ottawa, Ontario                                Public Health Agency of Canada

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Theresa Tam as Canada's next Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO), beginning June 26, 2017.

As Canada's lead public health professional, the CPHO provides the Minister of Health with evidence-based advice. The CPHO works in partnership with provincial and territorial Chief Medical Officers of Health, international colleagues and non-governmental organizations to advance public health issues. The CPHO also plays an important role in communicating public health risks to Canadians. Dr. Tam will bring significant experience to this role, given that she has served as an international expert on a number of World Health Organization (WHO) committees and international missions, including the first WHO Influenza Pandemic Task Force.

Dr. Tam is a paediatric infectious disease specialist, a field epidemiologist and the author of many published studies. She has held a number of senior leadership positions at the Public Health Agency of Canada, including as its Deputy Chief Public Health Officer and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control. Dr. Tam has co-chaired a number of Federal, Provincial and Territorial committees, including the Public Health Network Council and the Antimicrobial Resistance Steering Committee, and has acquired extensive experience in the management of disease outbreaks and health emergencies.

In an evolving public health landscape in Canada, the Minister of Health will work with the Chief Public Health Officer, the Public Health Agency of Canada and stakeholders to ensure that Canada has the ability to effectively respond to emerging public health threats and crises, especially ‎in light of the unprecedented number of overdose deaths from opioids.


“Public health involves upstream prevention and promotion that helps to reduce the burden on our health care systems. Dr. Tam has done an excellent job as Interim Chief Public Health Officer and I am confident that she will continue to bring a new perspective to the role. I look forward to working with her in addressing Canada’s public health challenges.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health

“Good health is a goal to which we all aspire. Public health involves harnessing the efforts of many to protect and promote the health of all Canadians, including the most vulnerable in our society. I look forward to working with colleagues, partners and Canadians across the country in pursuit of these goals.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada created the Public Health Agency of Canada and the position of Chief Public Health Officer in 2004 to improve public health in Canada and to strengthen the country's ability to respond to public health threats, outbreaks and emergencies.

  • The CPHO is the federal government's lead public health professional. The CPHO is responsible for working with other governments, jurisdictions, agencies, organizations, and countries on health matters; providing an annual report to the Minister of Health on the state of public health in Canada for tabling in Parliament; and speaking to Canadians, health professionals, stakeholders, and the public about issues affecting their health.

    The CPHO is also accountable for or has delegated responsibilities for public health-related provisions of the Public Health Agency of Canada Act, the Quarantine Act, the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act and the Department of Health Act.

  • This appointment was open, transparent and merit-based and was the result of a comprehensive nation-wide competitive process launched in December 2016 and finalized in June 2017.


Andrew MacKendrick
Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983

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