ARCHIVED: Appendix 1: Sustainable Development Strategy 2007-2010: Sustainable development in public health – Profile of the Public Health Agency of Canada


Public Health Agency of Canada
Sustainable Development Strategy 2007- 2010

Appendix 1: Profile of the Public Health Agency of Canada

A vision, mission and mandate drive PHAC's policies and programs and define its position within the Government of Canada's Health Portfolio.

Healthy Canadians and communities in a healthier world

To promote and protect the health of Canadians through leadership, partnership, innovation and action in public health

In collaboration with our partners, lead federal efforts and mobilize pan-Canadian action in preventing disease and injury, and promoting and protecting national and international public health:

  • anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover from threats to public health;
  • carry out surveillance, monitor, research, investigate and report on diseases, injuries, other preventable health risks and their determinants, and the general state of public health in Canada and internationally;
  • use the best available evidence and tools to advise and support public health stakeholders nationally and internationally as they work to enhance the health of their communities;
  • provide public health information, advice and leadership to Canadians and stakeholders; and
  • build and sustain a public health network with stakeholders.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was created within the federal Health Portfolio to deliver on the Government of Canada's commitment to increase its focus on public health. The Agency's role is to assist with building an effective public health system while protecting Canadians from threats to their health security. It is focused on applying effective efforts to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease and respond to public health emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks.

The Agency will, therefore, take public health measures, including measures relating to health protection and promotion, population health assessment, health surveillance, disease and injury prevention, and public health emergency preparedness and response. Within this context, the Agency will foster collaboration, coordinate federal policies and programs, and promote cooperation and consultation among provincial and territorial governments, foreign governments and international organizations, as well as other interested parties.

By working closely with the provinces and territories and other partners, PHAC strives to keep Canadians healthy and helps reduce pressures on the health care system.

By working closely with the provinces and territories, PHAC strives to keep Canadians healthy and helps reduce pressures on the health care system.

Organizational Structure

The Agency is headed by the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO), who reports to the Minister of Health on the daily operations of the Agency and advises the Minister on public health matters. An Assistant Deputy Minister and three Deputy CPHOs support the CPHO. Figure 3 presents an illustrative summary of the various components that make up the Agency.

Figure 3: PHAC Organizational Components

Figure 3: PHAC Organizational Components

Employees, Branches and Divisions

The Agency's headquarters are shared between Winnipeg and Ottawa. PHAC also maintains regional representation in all provinces and territories. In total, it employs approximately 2,100 people and manages roughly $500 million on an annual basis.

The Agency is supported by four branches that provide a variety of services in areas ranging from infectious and chronic disease to health promotion, emergency preparedness and strategic policy. Each branch is further supported by specialized centres and/or directorates.

The Infectious Disease and Emergency Preparedness Branch enables the prevention of infectious diseases and improvement in the health of infected people. This branch also houses:

  • the Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control (CIDPC);
  • the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response (CEPR);
  • the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML);
  • the Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses (LFZ); and
  • the Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat (PPS).

The Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch works in conjunction with stakeholders at all levels to provide guidance and leadership at the national and international levels on health promotion and chronic disease prevention, surveillance and control. It is also responsible for creating and evaluating programs that address common risk factors or specialized issues, and managing certain aspects of the Agency's grants and contributions program. This branch operates:

  • the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control (CCDPC);
  • the Centre for Health Promotion (CHP); and
  • the Transfer Payment Services and Accountability Division.

The Public Health Practice and Regional Operations Branch is responsible for providing strategic direction in public health surveillance and in building PHAC's regional capacity. The Office of Public Health Practice works in conjunction with the Branch; it is responsible for collaborating with health stakeholders on the development and implementation of health surveillance information, tools and skills. The Strategic Policy, Communications and Corporate Services Branch provides integrated and coordinated strategic direction along with communication, financial and human resources advice to all other branches. Six directorates operate under this Branch, providing services to the Agency on an ongoing basis:

  • Strategic Policy Directorate;
  • Communications Directorate;
  • Finance and Administration Directorate;
  • Human Resources Directorate;
  • Information Management and Information Technology Directorate; and
  • Audit Services Division.

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