ARCHIVED - The Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy


Background Information

Each year in Canada, more than two-thirds of deaths result from four groups of chronic diseases: cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and respiratory disease. Risk factors that lead to these diseases, such as physical inactivity and unhealthy eating, are growing particularly among some vulnerable groups.

In September 2002, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Ministers of Health (except Quebec) agreed to work together on the Integrated Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy. The goals of the Strategy are to improve overall health outcomes and to reduce health disparities by addressing the common preventable risk factors namely physical inactivity and unhealthy eating. The Strategy targets the entire population, with particular emphasis on children and youth; those in isolated, remote and rural areas; and Aboriginal communities. A consultation process was undertaken throughout 2003 and included:

  • four pre-consultation meetings;
  • nine Strategic Roundtables;
  • an online consultation workbook;
  • a pre-Symposium discussion document;
  • a national-level Healthy Living Symposium; and
  • further meetings with key representative stakeholder groups.

In September 2003, the FPT Ministers of Health (except Quebec) endorsed the Integrated Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy Framework and five action items, which included:

  • creation of an Intersectoral Healthy Living Network;
  • action in the areas of research, surveillance, and best practices;
  • exploration of options and models for an Intersectoral Fund;
  • exploration of options for a communications/health information strategy; and
  • further dialogue with Aboriginal stakeholders.

In September 2004, First Ministers (except Quebec) highlighted the importance of efforts to address prevention, promotion and public health, and the sustainability of the health system. First Ministers committed to working across sectors through the Strategy's framework on initiatives such as healthy schools (schools are one of the key settings of the framework to address concerns related to healthy living among Canadian children and youth).

The Coordinating Committee of the Intersectoral Healthy Living Network was launched at a meeting on September 22-24, 2004. It was led by co-chairs representing FPT governments and the non-profit sector. It acted as an engine to move the Healthy Living agenda forward and ensure the guiding principles of the Network and Strategy were upheld.

Under the guidance of the Coordinating Committee, four working groups were established, composed of members from Federal, Provincial and Territorial networks, the private sector, and Aboriginal and non-profit organizations. The four groups were:

  • Social Marketing / Public Information Working Group;
  • Priorities and Objectives Working Group;
  • Research and Surveillance Working Group; and
  • Intersectoral Fund Working Group.

The second meeting of the Coordinating Committee for the Intersectoral Healthy Living Network (IHLN) took place in Ottawa on April 7 and 8, 2005. The purpose of this meeting was to provide members with the opportunity to contribute to specific elements of the Integrated Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy.

FPT Ministers of Health (except Quebec) approved the Integrated Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy at their annual Conference, held on October 22 and 23, 2005 in Toronto, Ontario.

In 2010, a strengthened Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy framework was approved that builds on common risk factors and conditions, and points to new areas of opportunity, including preventing overweight and obesity, mental health promotion and injury prevention.

To support the strengthened Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health and Health Promotion endorsed two initiatives that focus on the prevention of disease, disability and injury, and the promotion of health:

  • The Declaration on Prevention and Promotion (Declaration) guides Federal, Provincial and Territorial collaboration on health priorities. The Declaration outlines the shared vision of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Health and Health Promotion Ministers to work together to make prevention of disease, disability and injury, and health promotion a priority.
  • Curbing Childhood Obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights. This Framework is the first common action framework coming out of the Declaration, under the strengthened Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy. It focuses on reducing prevalence of childhood obesity in Canada, and advances strategies and priorities for Federal, Provincial and Territorial government collaboration.

The following framework diagram illustrates the various components of the Integrated Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy.

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