Canadian Public Health Service

Putting more public health officers to work for Canadians

The Canadian Public Health Service (CPHS) builds Canada's public health capacity by employing and training professionals. The Service places public health officers (PHOs) in jurisdictions across Canada to address both ongoing and emerging needs. These placements benefit the host organization and strengthen Canada's public health workforce and professional network. More than 20 PHOs currently work on two-year placements with provincial, territorial and local health authorities, and non-governmental organizations.


Although eligibility criteria vary based on the needs of the placement sites, all positions require formal training and experience in public health (e.g., Master's degree) and excellent interpersonal skills. Typical candidates include epidemiologists, nurses, veterinarians, policy analysts and specialists in health promotion and environmental health. Preference will be given to Canadian citizens, although residents of Canada and Canadian citizens residing abroad are eligible to apply.

Program description

Public health officers are employees of the Public Health Agency of Canada working in various jurisdictions across the country. In consultation with their placement site supervisors, PHOs develop and implement annual learning plans that include on-the-job training and professional development. PHOs also participate in sessions on surveillance and pandemic preparedness, along with other training delivered by PHAC.

PHOs are integral members of the placement organization's team. They may work on anything from surveillance and epidemiological analysis of disease or disease-related factors to the development of standards and procedures, program evaluation or training.

PHOs must rotate to a new location every two years while in the program, and during national or local emergencies they may be mobilized as part of the federal response.


Applications for PHO positions must be made through the Public Service Commission of Canada in response to posted positions. 

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