Abstract

In the autumn of 2003, the Committee interrupted its mental health study in order to conduct a timely study on the governance and infrastructure of health protection and promotion in Canada, as well as on Canada's ability to respond to health emergencies arising from outbreaks of infectious disease. The decision to undertake such a study came as a result of a combination of events including the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the identification of a single cow diagnosed with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), the spread of the West Nile Virus (WNV), and threats of biological terrorism in the United States.

In total, the Committee heard some 30 witnesses and received approximately 20 written submissions in the course of its study. The primary focus of the Committee's report, tabled on November 5, 2003, was on the structure needed to enable health protection and promotion to be strengthened in the coming years, and on the steps that must be taken over the next twelve month period in order to handle serious infectious disease outbreaks. The Committee urged the creation of a Health Protection and Promotion Agency that is national in scope, in order to begin to solve the problem of the piecemeal approach to health protection and promotion that currently prevails. The full report can be found on line at: www.parl.gc.ca/37/2/parlbus/commbus/
senate/com-e/soci-e/rep-e/repfinnov03-e.htm