Key Policy Documents

Links to key policy documents from Canada and around the world relevant to public health.

Canadian documents

The federal role in the scope of practice of Canadian healthcare professionals (PDF document)

Focuses on the federal role with respect to the scope of practice of healthcare professionals, followed by an overview of “best practices”, and federal support for curriculum development and skills training in the health and allied professions. Standing Committee on Health. Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Standing Committee on Health, 2015.

Chief Public Health Officer’s Reports on the State of Public Health in Canada

This website provides links to the Chief Public Health Officer’s annual reports on public health. Each year the reports focus on a different topic including health inequalities, children, healthy aging, and youth. The reports include health indicator data and information on key programs, and also identify priorities for moving forward (from 2008 to present).

A Healthy, Productive Canada: A Determinant Of Health Approach (PDF document)

This is the final report from this committee, which was established to research and report on the social determinants of health, inequalities in health outcomes and interventions to improve the health of Canadians. The final report includes 22 recommendations for population health in Canada, including developing and implementing a population health policy and completing work on developing a list of indicators for health inequalities. Subcommittee of Population Health of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology (2009).

Reforming Health Protection and Promotion in Canada: Time to Act

This report examines the infrastructure and governance of public health, as well as the response to public health emergencies from infectious disease outbreaks (including responding to recommendations from the Naylor report). It recommends establishing: a national agency for health promotion and protection, a nationwide immunization program, a nationwide surveillance system and a national strategy for the prevention of chronic disease. Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (2003).

Learning from SARS: Renewal of public health in Canada

This report, often referred to as “the Naylor report”, examines lessons learned from the SARS outbreak and provides advice for moving forward in prevention and control of infectious diseases. The report’s recommendations include developing: a new agency for public health, a strategy for public health in Canada and a national strategy for public health human resources. National Advisory Committee on SARS and Public Health (2003).

Canada Health Action

This report addresses areas for improvement of Canada’s health system and Canadian’s overall health. Three priorities for action are identified including: “preserving our health care system by doing things differently, transforming our knowledge about health into action and using better evidence to make better decisions”. Report from members of the National Forum on Health to the Minister of Health and the Prime Minister (1997).

Population Health Promotion: An Integrated Model of Population Health and Health Promotion

This framework integrates health promotion and population health into a single model to assist with operationalizing these concepts. The model includes the determinants of heath (what), the levels of action (who), and the health promotion actions (how) identified in the Ottawa Charter. Nancy Hamilton and Tariq Bhatti, Health Canada (1996).

Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion

This charter is the product of the 1st International Conference on Health Promotion. The charter defines health promotion and the prerequisites for health, and outlines five areas for health promotion action: “build healthy public policy, create supportive environments, strengthen community action, develop personal skills, and reorient health services”. World Health Organization, Health and Welfare Canada, and the Canadian Public Health Association (1986).

Achieving Health for All

This report outlines challenges facing health in Canada, including the need to address income inequities, augment efforts in prevention, and help people cope with health challenges including disabilities. A framework for health promotion in the report identifies strategies for: “fostering public participation, strengthening community health services, and coordinating healthy public policy”. Jake Epp, Health and Welfare Canada (1986).

A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians (PDF document)

This is a seminal report that identifies the importance of factors beyond health care that can influence health. This “new perspective” includes examining environmental and behavioural factors, as well as biology, and their effect on health. Marc Lalonde, Government of Canada (1974).



Assessing Cost Effectiveness in Prevention (PDF document)

This report is a rigorous evaluation of preventive strategies undertaken around the world, underpinning a comprehensive analysis of the value of many health advancement strategies to address the burden of preventable death and disease in Australia. The ACE (Assessing Cost Effectiveness) Team, examined the cost effectiveness of interventions in health prevention, including interventions in alcohol, tobacco, physical activity, nutrition, body mass, blood pressure, cholesterol, osteoporosis, illicit drugs, cancer and diabetes. The report also outlines analyses of interventions for Indigenous populations.(2010).

World Health Organization

Closing the gap in a generation (PDF document)

This is the final report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, which was established in 2005 to gather evidence on how health equity can be promoted and achieved. Three overall recommendations are identified: “improve daily living conditions; tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources; and measure and understand the problem and assess the impact of action” (2008).

The Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World

This charter is the result of the 6th Global Conference on Health Promotion held in 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand. It focuses on health promotion within a globalized context, and refers to the role of the private sector as well as other players. Key commitments are identified, including making “the promotion of health: central to the global development agenda, a core responsibility for all of government, a key focus of community and civil society, and a requirement for good corporate practice” (2005).

The Jakarta Declaration on leading health promotion into the 21st century

This key document affirms the commitment of participants of the Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion to address the social determinants of health as part of a key investment in health promotion. A call for action and priority strategies are discussed (1997).

World Health Organization (Europe)

Health in All Policies, Prospects and Potentials (PDF document)

This report by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, under the auspices of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, outlines Health in All Policies (HiAP) as an approach to ensure a connection between health and policies in other departments. It includes illustrations of HiAPs, as well as chapters on health impact assessment (2006).

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Obesity and the Economics of Prevention (PDF document)

This report takes an economic approach to obesity. It examines: the costs (both health and economic) of obesity, obesity trends, groups that are most vulnerable, the effect of obesity on the labour market, the various determinants that contribute to the obesity issue, and effective interventions to address obesity (2010).

United Nations

Website for the 2011 High Level Meeting on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases

This website contains a number of key documents related to the September 19-20, 2011 High Level Meeting on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases held in New York City. Included are links to background reports from the World Health Organization, such as an action plan and reports on non-communicable diseases.