Public Health Agency of Canada Initiatives

The Public Health Agency of Canada is taking a leadership role in seeking out opportunities to build a population health approach into existing and planned activities, and drawing current and potential new partners into the process.

To realize its goals, the department will take a multi-level approach aimed at promoting understanding and action by connecting:

  • within the Public Health Agency of Canada,
  • with Canadians, and Canadian communities,
  • the broader government policy level,
  • and the international community.

This multi-level initiative - and the challenges of implementing a population health approach - will be addressed through a long-term 'investment plan' which has been drafted to guide and focus activity. The Blueprint to Promote a Population Health Approach in Canada has six investment strategies:

to develop concepts and theoretical frameworks
to adopt the approach in policy development
to develop the evidence base
to advance the approach through marketing, communications and education
to mobilize through partnerships and intersectoral action
to establish the organizational infrastructure to sustain the approach.


Mobilization Strategy

The employees of the regional offices of the Population and Public Health Branch (PPHB) are responsible for the mobilization of the population health approach. Mobilization is intended to put the population health approach into action. It refers to intersectoral collaboration on population health initiatives across sectors (e.g. business, labour, social and health), and levels of government (e.g. local, provincial, territorial). It is about the "doing" of the approach - actingon health issues in a way that is consistent with the guiding principles and characteristics that we have come to identify with the population health approach. Mobilization is critically important to the success of the population health approach because it puts theory into practice and will generate evidence about its effectiveness.

Connecting With Canadians

The Public Health Agency of Canada will inform and engage people across the country about the nature and expected benefits of a population health approach, as well as provide the information they need to act on behalf of their own health. Activities include:

  • Toward a Healthy Future: Second Report on the Health of Canadians (September 1999) summarizes the most current information we have on the health of Canadians. It was developed by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and a project team from the Centre for Health Promotion, University of Toronto. It is a landmark public policy report that examines all of the major factors or "determinants" that influence the health of Canadians of all ages. It draws on results from the National Population Health Survey, the National Longitudinal Survey on Children and Youth and numerous other sources, to provide a comprehensive picture of the state of the nation's health.
  • Building A Healthy Future (PDF format) is intended to provide health intermediaries and the general public with key messages from Toward a Healthy Future: Second Report on the Health of Canadians. This plain-language popular version is one way of getting simple and compelling population health messages out to people who would not otherwise read the Report itself. It was produced by the Canadian Public Health Association and funded by Health Canada.
  • Public Health Agency of Canada, Alberta, NWT, Nunavut This new web site features the Public Health Agency of Canada activities in the Alberta, NWT and Nunavut regions of Canada. In March of 1999 the Branch (AB/NWT) held a workshop on Intersectoral Action and Health. Presentations were made on models of intersectoral action, consensus decision making, action at the municipal level, and partnership development.
  • The Innovation Strategy supports the development, implementation and evaluation of promising population health initiatives to increase and strengthen population health action in Canada.

Continuous Learning

The Health Promotion and Programs Branch of the Public Health Agency of Canada launched the Meta Project in 1998, a branch wide continuous learning initiative to facilitate the integration of the population health approach into health policy, program development and practice. A survey of Branch staff revealed strong support for the population health approach, but also a need to develop better understanding. In order to determine team learning needs for the Branch, thirteen facilitators participated in a three day workshop on facilitation, and then worked with 25 teams. Based on the individual and team learning needs, the Branch Population Health Approach Continuous Learning Plan was developed.

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