The Pan-Canadian Public Health Network (PHN) is a network of individuals across Canada from many sectors and levels of government, who effectively work together to strengthen public health in Canada.

The PHN is a forum for public health experts from across Canada to come together, to raise issues and lay plans – and to make connections – for the benefit of all Canadians.

A key to the PHN’s effectiveness lies in its connectedness. The Pan-Canadian Public Health Network takes a collaborative approach to public health that is not only critical during public health emergencies – but also to assisting jurisdictions across Canada in gaining a stronghold on public health issues, such as obesity, and other chronic and communicable disease.


The Pan-Canadian Public Health Network was established by Canada’s Federal, Provincial and Territorial (F/P/T) Health Ministers in 2005, as a key intergovernmental mechanism to:

  • Strengthen and enhance Canada's public health capacity,
  • Enable F/P/T governments to better work together on the day-to-day business of public health, and
  • Anticipate, prepare for, and respond to public health events and threats.

Pan-Canadian Public Health Network (PHN)


Canadians benefit from an effective federation dedicated to collaboratively addressing contemporary challenges in public health.


  • Facilitate information sharing among all jurisdictions;
  • Disseminate information regarding best-practices in public health;
  • Support the public health challenges jurisdictions face during emergencies;
  • Provide advice and regular reporting to F/P/T Deputy Minister of Health on public health matters and the activities of the Network;
  • Collaborate on the day-to-day operations of public health;
  • Respect jurisdictional responsibilities in public health; and,
  • Be accountable to the Conference of Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Deputy Minister of Health.


  1. To protect and promote the health of Canadians
  2. To promote the importance of public health in the development of a sustainable Canadian Health System
  3. To improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities


Promote: Promote Healthy Living and Reduce Health Inequalities
Prevent and Control: Prevent and Control Persistent and Emerging Infectious Diseases
Prepare: Prepare for and Respond to Public Health Emergencies
Build: Build Public Health Infrastructure and Organizational Supports


  1. Develop a framework to guide F/P/T collaboration on mental health and identify priorities for collective action.
  2. Work collaboratively across sectors to advance new partnerships for promoting health and expand effective initiatives under Curbing Childhood Obesity: A F/P/T Framework to Promote Healthy Weights.
  3. Strengthen, enhance and advance collaborative efforts in the development and uptake of coherent P/T/T approaches and control persistent and emerging infectious diseases in Canada.
  4. Strengthen emergency preparedness and response capacity by summarizing targeted response plans and will an all-hazards, risk-based approach.
  5. Strengthen the formal mechanism of the public health system through more effective information sharing, partnerships and guidelines.
  6. Establish the foundations for a federated, integrated model and approach for the public health surveillance in Canada.

“The Public Health Network is a mechanism that [is] a new way for different levels of government and experts to work together to improve public health in Canada. It’s a tool for improving collaboration across jurisdictions, for keeping us on the same page and working towards the same ends, mixing policy and practice.”

[Dr. David Butler-Jones, addressing the National Meeting on Promotion and Prevention In Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, July 5, 2008]

“A big part of the Network’s success has been in the simple fact that its structure embraces the basic notion that public health is all about the power of the collective. We all have individual parts to play, but like the team sport that it is, public health needs everyone to be playing them together.”

[Dr. David Butler-Jones, addressing the National Meeting on Promotion and Prevention In Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, July 5, 2008]

“The Public Health Network really is one of our most important success stories. Before SARS, that role was filled by what was, basically, a few advisory committees – which could, of course, only advise. With the Network, we’ve shifted from advising to doing.”

[Dr. David Butler-Jones, addressing the National Meeting on Promotion and Prevention In Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, July 5, 2008]

What the Network does

The Pan-Canadian Public Health Network ensures that Canada is better prepared for future public health events by:

  • fostering cooperative and collaborative approaches on public health matters;
  • establishing, maintaining and implementing instruments, initially in the form of collaborative public health strategies, formal inter-jurisdictional arrangements, and a framework for a common approach to public health legislation and regulation;
  • facilitating collaboration and mutual aid across jurisdictions during public health crises and urgent situations;
  • establishing consensus-based priorities helping governments focus and refine their public health investments and resources;
  • encouraging processes for developing, implementing, maintaining and updating standards, guidelines, and best practices in the public health field;
  • negotiating arrangements which will govern intergovernmental collaboration in the day-to-day business of public health;
  • facilitating processes whereby applied research can be best translated into policies, programs and practice; and,
  • developing strong and robust public health partnerships between governments, academics, researchers, non-government organizations and health professionals.

In undertaking its work, the Network:

  • respects the authority and jurisdiction of each government to manage public health operations within their own domain;
  • embraces the differences in how each jurisdiction exercises its public health responsibilities, establishes priorities and manages its public health infrastructure;
  • recognizes that there is no 'one size fits all' approach to public health; and,
  • includes as part of the scope of the Network's activities, collaboration with, and participation of, non-governmental organizations, researchers, academics and other public health experts.