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Canadian Public Health Association

Alcohol Consumption in Canada: A Public Health Perspective

On 14 June 2022, the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) publicly released a position statement on alcohol consumption in Canada that included inappropriate and incorrect statements about Indigenous Peoples that could further exacerbate racist stereotypes. The statement was temporarily retracted and removed from CPHA’s website on 15 June 2022 when concerns were raised. After a thorough review by CPHA’s Indigenous Advisory Council, the Public Policy Committee, and Board of Directors, the statement is now permanently retracted.

CPHA apologizes sincerely and unreservedly for damage caused by the contents of the position statement.

As we have learned, the process through which the position statement was developed, and the resulting errors in content, reveal significant shortfalls in CPHA’s efforts to address systemic racism in its own organizational processes and to promote Truth and Reconciliation within the organization. These issues are systemic in nature, and we will address them through systematic revamping of our policy development process.

To ensure that the Association and its work more fully aligns with our commitments to Truth and Reconciliation, anti-racism, anti-oppression, and the organization’s mandate for health equity, CPHA’s Board of Directors and staff are committed to:

  • Reviewing the process by which its position statements are developed and released, and identify areas for improvement;
  • Assessing the implementation of CPHA’s commitments to Indigenous Peoples;
  • Clarifying CPHA’s role in Indigenous public health advocacy; and
  • Developing a process for engaging people with lived and living experience.

CPHA takes seriously its responsibility as a trusted advocate for health equity in Canada, and resolves to act with transparency and accountability in amplifying Indigenous Peoples’ voices and priorities through our policy advocacy.

While we cannot undo any damage resulting from this flawed statement, CPHA commits to addressing the systemic issues that led to its release and to setting itself on a path to being a trusted advocate for all.

Ian Culbert
Executive Director

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