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Canadian SH News Items from August 1-31, 2008

  • Changes in the Prevalence of Asthma Among Canadian Children
    This report (Garner & Kohen), released by Statistics Canada, examines the prevalence of asthma among Canadian children. The study found that: (1) The proportion of high-severity symptoms dropped from 1994/1995 to 2000/2001; (2) The likelihood of having an asthma attack depended on the severity of the disease, children with high-severity asthma reporting more asthma attacks in the past year than children with low-severity asthma; (3) Boys were more likely to be diagnosed with asthma than girls; (4) Asthma rates were highest in Atlantic provinces; (5) Risk of asthma was higher among children in smoking households; and (6) Childhood asthma was not related to income or urban/rural residence. The report is available for download at:

  • Two New Guides on Communities of Practice
    The National Association of State Directors of Special Education have published a guide on developing Communities of Practice: A New Approach to Solving Complex Educational Problems. This guide offers strategic and practical advice. The Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada has prepared a literature review on CoP's for the Canadian Cancer Partnership that provides similar advice based on the evidence.

  • CAHPERD Changes Name
    At its Annual General Meeting on Friday, May 30, 2008, the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) general assembly voted to accept the motion set by the Board of Directors to change the Association's name to: Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) / Éducation physique et santé Canada (EPS Canada).

  • Workshops from Canadian Safe Schools Network
    From Bad Apple to Good Seed: Changing the Direction of At-Risk Youth
    Spend a day examining programs and approaches to working with at-risk youth, as well as learn from and dialogue with a student panel. Speakers TBA. Further details and registration will be available on our website once speakers are confirmed.
    When: Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
    Where: Spirale Banquet Hall, Toronto
    Cost: $185.00 (includes light breakfast and lunch)
    It’s Not Easy Being a Teen: Pressing Issues Faced by Girls vs. Boys Today
    Spend the first half of the day exploring pressing issues faced by girls, and then the second half examining those faced by boys. Topics will include: sexuality, body image, and youth violence/aggression. Speakers TBA. Further details and registration will be available on our website once speakers are confirmed.
    When: Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
    Where: Spirale Banquet Hall, Toronto
    Cost: $185.00 (includes light breakfast and lunch)
  • New School Self-Assessment Tool for Physical Education
    The purpose of the
    School Physical Education Program Delivery Assessment Tool is to provide a means to assess the quality of your school’s physical education program, and to identify areas for improvement. Through the continuous use of this tool, your school will also be able to develop an inventory of current practices from year-toyear. This will allow your school to monitor the progression and to continually increase the quality of your physical education program. The premise for you to use this tool is that when “best practices” are in place, students are receiving the quality, daily physical education that they need and deserve. Once completed, please consider sharing your information with us. CAHPERD hopes to establish a series of ‘Best Practices’ models for other schools to use in their quest for QDPE. Please submit your completed information to: CAHPERD 2197 Riverside Drive, Suite 301 Ottawa, ON K1H 7X3 Email: Fax: (613) 523-1206
  • Alberta Summary of Effective Bullying Prevention
    An effective bullying-prevention initiative:
    • takes a jurisdiction- or schoolwide approach
    • is a collaborative effort
    • links schools with communities
    • creates a shared understanding about the nature and effects of bullying
    • assesses the extent of bullying before and after implementation of the initiative
    • helps teachers, students, parents and others to develop the knowledge, skills and language they need to respond to bullying
    • focuses on prevention rather than punishment
    • establishes links to curriculum (e.g., instruction in managing emotions, problem solving, conflict resolution, empathy training)
    • includes strategies for implementing, monitoring and evaluating the initiative.
Consider the following elements in developing a bullying-prevention initiative:

  • CDPAC Conference Nov 24-26, 2008
    The Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC) is pleased to announce that the Preliminary Program for its Third National Conference is now available on-line, to view click here. We invite you to see how you can spend three very productive days, November 24 through 26, this fall. The program integrates plenary sessions featuring national and international experts with concurrent oral presentations and workshops. The concurrent sessions are the fruit of a call for abstracts process this spring which yielded over 125 submissions, focussed on Leading Public Policy; Creating Systems Change; and Researching, Measuring and Monitoring Outcomes and Impacts. Scientific Committee Chair, Louise Potvin, PhD, congratulated all the authors for making the Committee’s job challenging with the best set of abstracts ever. “In fact, to accommodate the bumper crop, we developed two new sets of presentation opportunities, the Animated Poster Sessions and the Lunch and Learn Workshops" she said.
  • University of Alberta Apple Project
    The approach used to create active, healthy school communities is often referred to as the health-promoting school approach - the Alberta Project Promoting active Living & healthy Eating in Schools (APPLE Schools) will follow this approach.
    • To develop health-promoting school environments where it is easy for children to make healthy choices.
    • To improve the eating habits and physical activity levels of students.
    • To reduce the risk for chronic disease by decreasing obesity and overweight among schoolchildren.
    Canadian Smoking Rates Stable in 2007 (Statistics Canada Release Aug 25-08)
  • In 2007, one in five Canadians reported smoking either every day or occasionally, the same proportion as in 2005 and 2006. In addition, smoking prevalence across all age groups remained stable. Smoking rates in the provinces continued to be within 5 percentage points of the national average. Once again, British Columbia had the lowest rate, and Saskatchewan, for the second year in row, had the highest. Rates of exposure to second hand smoke in 2007 changed very little from 2006. The proportion of respondents who reported being exposed to second hand smoke at least once a week, but not every day was 35%. The proportion of people who reported they were exposed to second hand smoke every day remained unchanged at 12%. In total, 14% of households reported at least one person who smoked in the home every day or almost every day. Among the remaining households, 12% reported that they allowed smoking inside their home. Overall, 42% of households that either had a regular smoker or allowed smoking placed some type of restriction on smoking in the home.

  • Canadian Youth Sexual Activity Declines Slightly 1996-2005 (Statistics Canada Release Aug 20-08)
    In 2005, 43% of teens aged 15 to 19 reported that they had had sexual intercourse at least once, down from 47% in 1996/1997.The decline was due to young women, among whom the proportion who reported having had sexual intercourse fell from 51% to 43%. The proportion of young men who had had intercourse remained unchanged at 43%. Throughout the period, the percentage of teens reporting sexual intercourse was higher at older ages. Around two-thirds of those aged 18 or 19 had had intercourse, compared with about one-third of those aged 15 to 17. The proportion of teens who reported becoming sexually active at an early age also declined. In 2005, 8% reported having had sexual intercourse before they were 15, down from 12% in 1996/1997. The proportion fell among girls, but did not change significantly among boys. About one-third of teens aged 15 to 19 who had had intercourse in the year before the survey reported having done so with more than one partner, roughly the same percentage as in 1996/1997. A higher percentage of boys than girls reported multiple partners, a finding consistent with other studies.
Having multiple partners was more common among older teens. Between 2003 and 2005 (the only years for which nationally representative and comparable data are available), the proportion of sexually active teenage girls who reported using a condom rose from 65% to 70%; among teenage boys, the proportion remained around 80%. Condom use was more common among teens aged 15 to 17 than among those aged 18 and 19 in 2005. Sexual intercourse at an early age, having multiple partners and unprotected sex put teens at risk of sexually transmitted infection and of unwanted pregnancy.
Note: Data for this study came from the 1996/1997 National Population Health Survey and the 2003 and 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey.

  • Canadian Government Announces 130 Million for Mental Health Programs (Posted Aug 18-08)
    The federal Minister of Health announced today that the Government's funding commitment to the Canadian Mental Health Commission is now confirmed at $130 million over its 10-year mandate. In Budget 2007, the Government committed $55 million over five years towards a mental health commission and today the Government confirms a total investment of $130 million over 10 years as follows: $5.5 million in 2007/08; $7.5 million in 2008/09; $12 million in 2009/10 and $15 million per year starting in 2010/11 until 2017.Through Budget 2008 the Government of Canada also committed an additional $110 million to the Mental Health Commission of Canada for research projects to help Canadians with mental illness who are homeless. The Commission will set up five demonstration research projects across Canada. The sites that have been selected are: Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Moncton. The establishment of the Commission is an important component of the Government's strategy to address mental health issues in Canada. The three key initiatives of the Commission are to conduct a 10-year anti-stigma campaign, build a pan-Canadian Knowledge Exchange Centre, and elaborate a national mental health strategy for Canada.
  • Call for Nominations Sharing the Flame: Recognizing Excellence in Learning (Posted Aug 18-08)
    Deadline: October 15, 2008 The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) is seeking nominations for its second annual recognition program, Sharing the Flame: Recognizing Excellence in Learning. Sharing the Flame highlights some of Canada’s most promising practices in learning—giving these initiatives the visibility they deserve, and helping others to learn from their success. CCL will recognize initiatives in the following learning themes: · Aboriginal learning · Adult learning · Early childhood learning · Health-related learning · Work and learning Selected programs will be recognized on the Canadian Council on Learning website ( and have their projects featured in an electronic “ideas book,” to be distributed to stakeholders and interested parties across Canada in late 2008. CCL welcomes entries from individuals and organizations with active projects related to any of the five learning themes (as above). Please complete and submit the Sharing the Flame Call for Nominations form by Wednesday, October 15, 2008.For more information, please visit or email
  • Improve Your School Climate—RSVP Today! (Posted Aug 7-08)
    Raising Student Voice & Participation (RSVP) is a student engagement program aligned with school reform. The National Association of Student Councils (NASC) in the US has developed this initiative to:
    • Provide a forum for the many voices in your school
    • Encourage schools to involve students in the school decision-making process
    • Make positive changes in schools and communities—changes that students believe in
    • Increase student interest in civic issues and involvement.
    For more information about RSVP and available training and grants for your school, visit

  • Mental Health Linked to Income, Community Belonging: Canadian Data (Posted Aug 5-08)
    Significant links between income and the experience of high psychological stress were found by a new study. The authors found that over a ten-year period people belonging to the lowest income category were more than 2.5 times more likely to have experienced repeated episodes of distress than those in the highest income category. People classified as middle income had a 50 percent greater likelihood of distress in comparison to the highest income group. Another factor affecting mental health was explored in a recent article based on data from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey. The authors of the study found that over 80 percent of Canadians who reported experiencing excellent or very good mental health also had a very strong sense of community belonging. See "Using the National Population Health Survey to Identify Factors Associated with Patterns of Psychological Distress over 10 Years," at Canadian Public Schools: Basic Stats (Statistics Canada Release July 28-08)
  • The report, "Summary public school indicators for the provinces and territories," examines trends in enrolment, graduates and the number of educators as well as basic financial statistics, such as total spending and spending per student, in public elementary and secondary schools between the school years of 1999/2000 and 2005/2006.

  • Canadians Support Citizenship Education (CTF Release July 11-08)
    According to a recent public opinion poll conducted by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), an overwhelming majority of Canadians support the education of values and ethical behaviour, the environment as well as human rights in schools. CTF’S National Issues in Education public opinion poll shows that 9 out of 10 Canadians expressed support for public schools teaching students about values and ethical behaviour (91%), protecting the environment (91%) and about human rights (90%).

  • Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity (Posted Aug 4-08)
    The federal Health Minister announced the release of Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity. The Health Canada assessment team involved experts from across the country, including a steering committee, authors and editor, contributors, and reviewers.The completed report consists of the following chapters:
Table of Contents:
  • Introduction
  • Assessment Methods
  • Vulnerabilities to Natural Hazards and Extreme Weather
  • Air Quality, Climate Change and Health
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Water-, Food-, Vector- and Rodent-Borne Diseases
  • Health Impacts of Climate Change in Quebec
  • Health Impacts of Climate Change in Canada's North
  • Vulnerabilities, Adaptation and Adaptive Capacity in Canada
  • Conclusion
The Assessment Report is currently in print production. Due to the size of the report (484 pages), the Department is making it available by request. To receive low-resolution PDFs (8 megabytes) of the report via email, please contact If you would like to receive an interactive CD of the report (to be available on August 22, 2008), please contact Health Canada's Publications.

  • Public Safety Canada Summary Suggests Whole School Approach to Prevent Bullying (Posted Aug 4-08)
    The National Crime Prevention Centre series on better practices has reviewed the Canadian and international studies on the prevalence, risk and protective factors and approaches to bullying prevention in schools. Several evaluated programs are noted as promising. The report also suggests that: " There is an emerging consensus among the bullying prevention literature that the ‘whole-school’ approach is an effective and lasting approach to prevent bullying in schools. The ‘wholeschool’ approach includes the creation and adoption of an anti-bullying policy and anti-bullying initiatives. The ‘whole-school’ policy that guides this approach outlines the roles, responsibilities and procedures for staff, a code of conduct for students as well as the consequences for bullying and improvements in the way bullying incidents are addressed. Generally, successful ‘whole-school’ preventive responses must exhibit the following key principles:
    • Strong teacher and adult leadership and strong student teacher bonding and consistent behavioural norms
    • Adult awareness and involvement
    • Effective (focused and intense) supervision
    • Involvement of multiple stakeholders
    • Involvement of youth in program development and delivery
    • Target multiple risk and protective factors