The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) is the national, independent, not-for-profit, voluntary association representing public health in Canada. CPHA’s members believe in universal and equitable access to the basic conditions which are necessary to achieve health for all Canadians.
In 2014, CPHA released the discussion paper, A New Approach to Managing Illegal Psychoactive Substances in Canada, which defines a public health approach to this issue. CPHA participated in study tours to Colorado and Washington, and at Public Health 2016, hosted a workshop to investigate various aspects of a public health approach to the legalization and regulation of cannabis. The expert advice received through these discussions informed this submission to the federal Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation.
Public Health 2017 is the national forum where public health professionals, researchers, policy-makers, academics, students and trainees come together to strengthen efforts to improve health and well-being, to share the latest research and information, to promote best practices and to advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research.
CPHA applauds reports in the media that the Government of Canada is pushing to accelerate the phase-out of coal-fired power in Canada. “The scientific evidence on the health effects of coal pollution is clear,” said Ian Culbert, CPHA’s Executive Director. “Coal pollution has been associated with myriad health issues, such as cancer, miscarriages and poor lung and brain development in children.”
CPHA is organizing a webinar series for students, trainees, and early career professionals. The webinars are a combination of mentorship sessions featuring speakers working in various public health professions and skills-building sessions that will provide participants with career-related tips and tools.
Early childhood education and care plays an important part in healthy childhood development and provides valuable support to families with young children. Canada, however, does not have a pan-Canadian approach to ECEC and CPHA calls on the Federal government to work with provinces and territories to establish a pan-Canadian early childhood education and care strategy.
ImmunizeCA provides 24/7 access to vaccination schedules based on information specific to people’s home province or territory, and to reliable, expert-approved, bilingual information about vaccinations for children, adults and travelers. The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, recently announced funding for Phase Two of the mobile App.
As a result of the 2015 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada (Carter v. Canada), the Government of Canada has developed legislation regarding medical assistance in dying. The Canadian Public Health Association recognizes that this legislation will provide additional options for those suffering with terminal illness, but underscores the need that such decisions be based on the best available medical information for each case, and the moral and ethical concerns of both the person requesting assistance and the health professional(s) providing the service.
The context for public health in Canada and globally is changing and the Board has developed an innovative plan that will steer the Association into a hopeful future. Recent changes in Canada also provide CPHA with a unique opportunity to advance the public health perspective on a number of pressing issues.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has recently confirmed travel-related cases of Zika virus from Central and South America. Since Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites, travellers to Central and South America, particularly pregnant women or those considering becoming pregnant, should protect themselves from mosquito bites. Mosquitoes known to transmit the virus to humans are not present in Canada.
On February 23, 2016, CPHA and the Calgary Sexual Health Centre hosted an interactive webinar exploring STBBIs and related stigma. During this interactive webinar, participants engaged in a facilitated discussion of the strategies that can be used to address stigma within their workplaces.
CPHA has a long and recognized history of work on the social determinants of health. We are proud of this legacy and our hope is to create a discussion around the social determinants of health both within the public health community as well as with the public, as a means of moving the social determinants of health agenda forward with political leaders and decision-makers in other sectors.