Health Promotion Highlights of 2015

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By Barb Willet

This time of year is often one of introspection and gratitude as many of us look back on the year that was and prepare for the year to come. In recognition of our 30 years working in health promotion, we at Health Nexus have put together our top 30 highlights for health promotion in 2015.

Health not just freedom from disease, health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being. Health promotion is about more than vaccines. Health promotion moves beyond individual behavior towards a broad range of social and environmental interventions. Health promotion is about health equity.

Health Promotion
Source: Out Front Minnesota

We are encouraged by what we see to be greater political alignment across ministries at both the provincial and federal levels. In fact, during the election campaign, the Federal Liberal Party made a deliberate distinction between health and health care. 

As we look forward to 2016, we hope that momentum continues to build.

2015 health promotion highlights (in no particular order)

  1. The launch of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge launched in 45 communities across the province and part of Ontario’s Healthy Kids Strategy

  2. L’ouverture du Centre francophone à Thunder Bay, un bel exemple d’un carrefour communautaire pour la communauté francophone de la région.

  3. The development of the Ontario’s new Child Care and Early Years Act.

  4. The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the commitment of the Ontario government to work with Indigenous partners to pursue reconciliation.

  5. The release of TO Prosperity: Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy for the City of Toronto.

  6. The development of Ontario’s draft regulations on street checks. Although the proposed regulations may not go far enough, we are encouraged by the renewed dialogue surrounding the issue following the publication of a powerful article in Toronto Life by Desmond Cole.

  7. Le renouvellement du mandat de l’Entité 1, l’Entité 2, Reflet Salvéo, Entité 4, le Réseau des services de santé en français de l’Est de l’Ontario et le Réseau du mieux-être francophone du Nord de l’Ontario, les six entités de planification des services de santé en français de l’Ontario.

  8. The launch of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

  9. The passing of the Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act in Ontario to ban “conversion therapy” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.  

  10. The Ontario government’s commitment to developing a Policy to Support Responsible Alcohol Use.

  11. The release of a Revised Health and Physical Education Curriculum for the province of Ontario.

  12. The Paris climate change agreement and Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy.

  13. L’énoncé de position sur l’offre active publié par le Regroupement des Entités de planification des services de santé en français de l’Ontario et l’Alliance des Réseaux ontariens de santé en français. 

  14. The release of the Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario discussion paper.

  15. The commitment by the Government of Ontario to invest in Supportive Housing Units as part of the Realizing Our Potential: Poverty Reduction Strategy (2014-2019).

  16. The passing of Ontario’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Research and Care Act; the first known health care legislation of its kind in North America.

  17. The appointment of Ontario’s first Patient Ombudsman.

  18. The increase in political transparency through the publication of the Federal Ministerial Mandate Letters. (Mandate letters have been previously published for Ontario’s provincial government).

  19. The launch of the Pan-Canadian Network for Health Promoter Competencies (in French and English).

  20. The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Children and Youth Mental Health policy paper – Taking action on health equity and diversity: Responding to the mental health needs of children, youth and families new to Canada.

  21. The passing of the Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat Act.

  22. The launch of the Children See Children Learn campaign by Best Start. En français, Les enfants voient Les enfants apprennent.

  23. The release of Ontario’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Provincial Roundtable Report.

  24. The creation of the WYNI app to help respond to breastfeeding mothers’ questions by the Windsor Faculty of Nursing and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. The app can also track breastfeeds, wet and dirty diapers and height and weight.

  25. The releases of new resources, by the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health & Environment, to help stakeholders in the child care sector promote its Reduce Radon campaign.

  26. The expansion of access to sex reassignment surgery in Ontario.

  27. The release of the HC Link Resource on Building Resiliency through Family-Based Programming.

  28. The passing of Ontario’s Making Healthier Choices Act.

  29. The publication of WHO recommendations on health promotion interventions for maternal and newborn health 2015.

  30. The commitment by the City of Cambridge to pay its employees a living wage. Cambridge is now the third municipality in Canada, and the first in Ontario to take this step.

Our list is not exhaustive and we would love to hear from you. What was your health promotion highlight for 2015?