Program and public policy

10 July 2014

Public Policy Models and Their Usefulness in Public Health: The Stages Model

This briefing note belongs to a series on the various models used in political science to represent public policy development processes. Each of these briefing notes begins by describing the analytical framework proposed by a given model. Then we set out to examine questions that public health actors may ask regarding public policy, while keeping in mind the perspective that this model affords. It should be noted that our aim in these notes is not to further refine existing models; nor is it to advocate for the adoption of one of them in particular. Our purpose is rather to suggest how each of these models constitutes a useful interpretive lens that can guide reflection and action leading to the production of healthy public policies.

7 July 2014

Wicked problems and public policy

The term wicked problem is increasingly used in policy and public health circles and there is often some confusion about what it really refers to: are wicked problems the same as complex problems? How are they different from regular or “tame” problems? This fact sheet is designed to present the definitional characteristics of wicked problems as well as discuss how they may be addressed.

7 July 2014

Road Diets: Healthier Pubic Ways

This briefing note introduces the road diet, an engineering technique that reallocates space on a street or road for other uses when they are over-built and have excess lanes. In what follows, we will present a definition, some study results and practical implementation considerations for road diets.

When applied with consideration for contextual details, it is generally agreed that road diets provide significant safety benefits for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

With fewer and narrower lanes, the crossing distances for pedestrians are shorter, vehicle speeds come down to more appropriate levels, and protected space for cyclists is created. Road diets are most successful on streets carrying average annual daily traffic (AADT) of up to 12,000, but can be implemented on streets with higher volumes if intersections are studied and configured carefully.

Because much of the opposition to road diets stems from misconceptions about the function of the ro…

4 July 2014

Constructing a Logic Model for a Healthy Public Policy: Why and How

This briefing note outlines the process for constructing a logic model as proposed in the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy's (NCCHPP's) method for synthesizing knowledge about public policies (Morestin, Gauvin, Hogue, & Benoit, 2010). It also shows the use of this type of logic model in applications other than knowledge synthesis, as a tool that public health actors can use to analyze public policies.

27 June 2014

Policy Avenues: Interventions to reduce social inequalities in health

Various social factors, such as education, income, work, living environment, housing, lifestyle and access to services, determine an individual’s state of health. These interact in varying combinations throughout the life course. Inequitable distribution of these factors, or health determinants, among groups generates considerable health differences among people within a community or a country, or between countries. The gaps, or unequal distribution of health status, linked to these determinants within a population are referred to as social inequalities in health (SIH). These inequalities are not inevitable and could be reduced, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The problem of social inequalities in health is vast and complex: unequal power dynamics and exclusion, as well as certain policies and social norms and practices, generate social and health disparities.

Data on the scope of SIH in Québec speak for themselves. The differences between socioeconomic gro…

12 November 2013

Work-Family Balance and Health: Can Québec Draw Inspiration from Government Policies Implemented in Other Jurisdictions? A Summary

The issue of work-family balance (WFB) has not been given much attention in terms of its impact on health. Therefore the purpose of this advisory is to examine WFB policies likely to foster the health of working mothers and fathers. The conceptual framework is innovative in that the analysis incorporates the impact of WFB difficulties on health, the role of the neighbourhood, working conditions and public policy in the work-family-health equation.

The statistical portrait of WFB in Québec reveals how the sizeable increase in the proportion of women in the labour market, particularly mothers, has contributed to the emergence of WFB as an issue, similar to what has occurred in many jurisdictions around the world. According to the Québec data, time conflicts seem to be a significant contributing factor in the stress experienced by working parents.

Current research on WFB confirms the results of a literature review on the topic conducted by the INSPQ in 2005. WFB problem…

16 September 2013

Health Authorities and the Built Environment: Actions to Influence Public Policies

The mandate of the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP) is to increase the expertise of public health actors across Canada in healthy public policy through the development, sharing and use of knowledge. Health authorities constitute a key group of stakeholders targeted by the knowledge translation, synthesis and exchange activities integral to the fulfillment of the Centre's mandate. It is within this context that the NCCHPP has developed various projects tied to public policies that inform the built environment and has been working with the Healthy Canada by Design coalition. The efforts of this coalition are focused on promoting certain public policies that can lead to the creation of healthier built environments – such as transportation and urban planning policies.

Under the direction of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, this coalition includes six health authorities (Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver Island Health, Fraser Health, Pe…

3 July 2013

A Framework for Analyzing Public Policies: Practical Guide

Public health actors in public, community and academic networks may be called upon to work on public policies and, within the context of this work, to interact with policy makers at different levels (municipal, provincial, etc.). However, they often find that the content of their discourse does not meet all the information needs of these decision makers.

This document presents a structured process based on an analytical framework that reflects a public health perspective, while at the same time integrating other concerns of policy makers. The document addresses four questions:

  • What public policies does this analytical framework apply to?
  • In what types of situations is it useful?
  • Which policy facets does it focus on?
  • How is the analysis carried out?
3 July 2013

Enabling Sustainability Policy and Planning at the Local Level: The Example of Food Policy

While sustainability policies and planning have relevance at multiple scales from the neighbourhood, to city-level, regional, national and beyond, this briefing note is intended to help public health, government and non-governmental actors promote sustainability at the local level, whether in urban or rural settings.

This briefing note begins by presenting traditional and emerging responsibilities of local governments. It then briefly summarizes approaches to putting sustainability priorities into action (in general). Next, the specific example of food policy is discussed by presenting four factors that may facilitate the implementation of food policies, and by extension, other sustainability priorities.

1 May 2013

Developmental health and public policy

It is commonly acknowledged that the circumstances surrounding birth and the early years of life have an impact on the learning, behaviour and health of individuals throughout their lives. To help readers to learn more about interventions that support the healthy development of children from birth to five years old, we have compiled this bibliography.

This document aims to open pathways of study to public health actors interested in developmental health and the well-being of children. It is intended as a guide to research, but makes no claim to be exhaustive. The documents (books, journals, etc.) and websites listed (English and French) were selected based on criteria of accessibility, relevance and scientific rigour. Although there are many quality resources for parents or the general public, the resources listed here are more specifically intended for public health professionals and decision makers.

Those interested in developmental health will find references that…