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Canadian Public Health Association

Position statements


A Public Health Approach to the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Cannabis

November 6, 2017

Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, will legalize and regulate access to cannabis in Canada. The intent of the legislation and regulation is to provide a public health framework that should reduce the likelihood of negative health outcomes and the potential effects resulting from criminalization. Bill C-46 proposes changes to the impaired driving laws with the purpose of more severely punishing those who drive while under the influence of drugs, including cannabis. Furthermore, the 2017 Federal Budget provided funding to support public education programs and surveillance activities related to cannabis use. The Canadian Public Health Association commends the federal government for this important step in developing a public health approach to addressing cannabis use in Canada. The Association also recognizes that additional steps are required to develop and implement a public health perspective.

Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultation Response

August 25, 2017

The Canadian Public Health Association submitted a response to the Government of Canada's Consultation on the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.

A Brief Regarding Bill C-45

August 15, 2017

The Canadian Public Health Association presented a description of the issues that should be addressed in any cannabis legislation and regulations if a public health approach is to be achieved. Many of the provisions contained in the draft legislation resonate with our proposals. As such, we commend the federal government for this important step in developing a public health approach to addressing cannabis use in Canada. 

Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for Canada

June 23, 2017

CPHA has endorsed the Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for Canada which represent a public health approach to reduce the health risks and burden of disease associated with cannabis use. The Guidelines are part of a research study conducted by an international team of experts that is published in the June 2017 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.


The Opioid Crisis in Canada

December 13, 2016

There is an expanding opioid crisis in Canada that is resulting in epidemic-like numbers of overdose deaths. These deaths are the result of an interaction between prescribed, diverted and illegal opioids (such as fentanyl) and the recent entry into the illegal drug market of newer, more powerful synthetic opioids. The current approaches to managing this situation – focused on changing prescribing practices and interrupting the flow of drugs – have failed to reduce the death toll and should be supplemented with an enhanced and comprehensive public health approach. Such an approach would include the meaningful involvement of people with lived experience.

Early Childhood Education and Care

June 1, 2016

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.

Medical Assistance in Dying

April 1, 2016

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. CPHA 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.


Discussion Paper on the Ecological Determinants of Health

May 1, 2015

The future of life on Earth cannot be taken for granted as our species has the capacity to influence that future – for good or ill. This paper is not the definitive word on the topic of the ecological determinants of health. Its goal is to begin a conversation, stimulate debate and ultimately motivate the public health community to action.


Global Change and Public Health: Addressing the Ecological Determinants of Health | The report in brief (April 2015)


Sex Work in Canada: A Public Health Perspective

December 1, 2014

The exchange of sexual services for money or goods has taken place in one form or another since the dawn of time and will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Public Health works within this context and acknowledges the real life situation involved in sex work. The goal of a Public Health approach is to make sex work safe for both the sex worker and client. In response to the ongoing debate regarding sex work, CPHA developed a position statement on sex work in Canada that addresses the issue from a public health perspective.

Statement of Support for a National Inquiry Concerning Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

October 20, 2014

CPHA supports the calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women originating from the Assembly of First Nations, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, other First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples associations, the families of the missing and murdered, and the Premiers of Canada’s provincial and territorial governments.