Back to top

Issues and Campaigns in Ontario HP

A. Introduction

In previous editions of the Ontario Health Promotion Email Bulletin, we have brought to attention such campaigns and issues as "Developing a Nutrition Month Campaign" [OHPE #38 January 1998], Policy Change [OHPE #48 Apr 3], Alcohol & Substance Abuse [OHPE 48, 49, 52 in April] and Heart Health [OHPE #7.2 Jun13/97; #42.1 Feb20/98; #59.1&2 Jun21/98]. Many of these features or resources are focused on actions, interventions and efforts that can best be described as advocacy work.

Governments have been very sensitive to the use of the term "advocacy", as it has implied lobbying and pressure by special interest groups. However, some of these campaigns and action packs have been developed by governments to promote changes in behaviour and to inform people about legislative changes - such as tobacco controls in schools, seatbelt use, impaired driving and more.

When we received an email informing us of a new campaign related to the passage of a private members bill to control the tobacco industry, it led to an interesting discussion about an initial reluctance to include materials or features of a political or advocacy nature. On reflection, and review of the key points made in the package, it is apparent that we need to look at actions, issues and campaigns in the same way that we view "health promotion interventions" - with a critical eye looking

at what behaviour or change is being desired, by who, to what end and the impact on the well-being of the population. Given these criteria and a few more - these campaigns are some of our most helpful approaches to be considered. As with any activity, a critical analysis of the approach being taken is always helpful. Your comments on these resources and campaigns are very welcome. Please send them to or to Noelle Gadon of the Health Communication Unit -



Received from Karolyn Kane - a package of materials on taking action.

Senator Colin Kenny spoke with us [HSF] directly about Bill S-13 [the Tobacco Industry Responsibility Act], a private bill intended to put a levy of $0.50/carton of cigarettes, to collect funds for smoking education and cessation programs. We have encouraged all Heart and Stroke Foundation staff and volunteers to participate in a letter writing campaign supporting the Bill. A package of materials have been put together to make this campaign easier.

In this package there is:

1. A document discussing key points about the Bill,

2. A list of 56 M.P.'s and

3. Sample letters to send.

For more information on this campaign you may want to contact Jennifer in Senator Kenny's office at 613/995-5589.

Thanks for your support,

Karolyn Kane []

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario

Key Points to Letters of Support

(one point per section excerpted here)

Focus on the Problem

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths in Canada. Everyone is somehow touched by smoking related disease and illness. Of the 48,350 preventable deaths in Canada every year, 79.3% are due to smoking related diseases.

Focus on the Government's Ineffectual Response to this Problem

The federal government currently spends 33 cents per capita on anti-smoking programs even though our smoking rate is nearing 30%. Conversely, California spends $4 per capita on anti-smoking programs and has a smoking rate of 11%. Clearly, the federal government's commitment is insufficient.

Focus on the Solution

$120 million of the fund would go to bottom-up style health education and cessation programmes for youth which would be complemented by regional and national programmes and include a strong, national, anti-smoking media campaign. The fund would be operated by a foundation at arm's length from government.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~



News Release: Cancer Research Campaign - Sad Plight of Teenage Girl Smokers Revealed

The above information was produced outside of Health Canada and is therefore not subject to the Official Languages Act. It is available in English only.

Tobacco Reduction Sites

- Quit 4 Life:

- Challenge to Youth:


Social Advertising and Tobacco Demand Reduction in Canada - This case was published in Social Marketing: Theoretical & Practical Perspectives, Eds. M.E. Goldberg, M. Fishbein, S.E. Middlestadt, Lawerence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey, London, 1997.

Resources on Tobacco Reduction

Tobacco Reduction:

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


"How do four very different [young] people Quit 4 Life? This is their journey, their struggle with the challenges facing them. Choose any character and follow their story from beginning to end. Stop at each of the five interactive steps along the way for help in kicking the habit and staying smoke-free. Your life could change forever too.

Website has links to Health Canada, The Lung Association, The Canadian Dental Association

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~



The Ontario Public Health Association [OPHA] in collaboration with the Addiction Research Foundation [ARF], the Association of local Public Health agencies [alPHa] and the College of Family Physicians of Canada, have endorsed and promoted a new set of Low-risk Drinking Guidelines. Since October 1997, this coalition of public health agencies working through the alcohol Policy Network, has been distributing the Guidelines, and seeking widespread support for their adoption and dissemination. The Guidelines aim to clarify the links between alcohol consumption, health and risk.

The Newsletter of the Ontario Injury Prevention Resoruce Centre is only one of many venues to promote these Guidelines, noting "Your support in the dissemination of the Guidelines will greatly enhance their effectiveness in minimizing the harm that alcohol consumption can cause, while still capturing the demonstratable benefits." Organizations are being asked to take copies of the brochure "Alcohol and Your Health - It's a Question of Balance" and consider:

a) placing an article and/or inserts in their newsletters

b) adding information to web-sites or linking to

c) displaying posters or distributing brochures to contacts.

It is a carefully orchestrated campaign with a wide reach.

For more information either check the web-site noted above or contact Marianne Kobus-Matthews, tel: (416) 595-8748, e-mail mkobusmat@arf.or or Paula Neves, tel: (416) 367-3313 ext 27, email

See also ARF's website or the Alcohol Policy Network's web-site for more information.

It is interesting to note the recent article in the Canadian Journal of Public Health (vol 89, #4 p241-247) from ARF staff Gordon Walsh, Susan Bondy and Jurgen Rehm "Review of Canadian Low-risk Drinking Guidelines and Their Effectiveness." [e-mail]

In this article, the study compared 18 low-risk drinking guidelines that were gathered from Canadian government agencies, non-government agencies, medical bodies and public and private agencies involved in the treatment of addictions. The authors notes that very little literature exists on evaluating low-risk drinking guidelines as vehicles for primary prevention and it is not known to what extent such

guidelines influence knowledge and drinking behaviour.

2. ApolNet Action Packs & Hot Issues

APOLNET is an on-line service dedicated exclusively to alcohol policy issues. It is designed to stimulate informed discussion about various aspects of alcohol policy and profile the efforts and successes of individuals and organizations in the field. The service is a collaborative venture between the Alcohol Policy Network, Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA), and Substance Abuse Network of Ontario (SANO).

An interesting example of a policy and action oriented network - the web-site is full of useful resources and news. For example in the "News & Views" section:

- Alcohol Policy Update - Browse current and back issues of APN's bi-monthly newsletter.

- Clippings & Headlines - Search relevant web sites for the latest alcohol policy-related news and views.

- Movers & Shakers - Get in touch with key politicians, civil servants, journalists and community leaders.

- New Resources - Find out about recent or upcoming alcohol policy-related publications, products and services.

- Events & Milestones - Read about important milestones and upcoming conferences, seminars and other events in the field of alcohol policy.

And a chance to email them for more information and with news.

In the Action Pack area are 16 packages of links to policy backgrounders and action resources. The New Low-risk Drinking Guidelines are among these action packs and feature links to the following:

- Guidelines on Low-risk Drinking (ARF, Mar. 1997); Short Version

- Low-risk Drinking Guidelines - Questions & Answers (ARF)

- Fast Facts-Alcohol Use Among Adults in Ontario (ARF)

- Dissemination of Guidelines

- Communications Plan Summary

- Press Conference Materials:

Contact List (Research &Dissemination)

- Related Information

- Bibliography (ARF Library)

The Hot Issues section looks at latest legislation and campaigns. Worth a visit!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


Described in an earlier OHPE Bulletin on Youth Health Promotion, #61.1 on July 3, 1998, Alcohol, Cannabis & Tobacco Health Promotion Project ACTION is a school and community kit and CD-ROM. It was developed by the Ontario Physical Health Education Assoc. (OPHEA) with the Addiction

Research Foundation to prevent alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use among youth in grades 7 to 9.

It is networkable - that is, it can be used on a single computer or loaded onto a school or organization's network for use on multiple machines. The program support is available on a toll free line at 1-888-446-7432 and from OPHEA's web-site at

In the Fall of 1997, ten teams from throughout Ontario attended a two day free training session on ACTION. With funding provided to the Collaborative Teams, by the Ontario Ministry of Health, along with on-going program consultation and support, these 10 Collaborative Teams comprised of educators, public health professionals and social service agency personnel have been very active bringing ACTION into their communities and schools.

The ACTION project has now completed Year One of the three year project and is quickly approaching Year Two. The ACTION Implementation team is very excited to announce that the next Collaborative Team Training Workshop will occur in the Fall of 1998.

For more information, contact Jennifer Graham, project coordinator, OPHEA, 1185 Eglinton Ave. E. Suite 501 North York ON M3C 3C5 Tel (416) 426-7083 Fax (416) 426-7373

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

And in a last note related to Advocacy and Actions, the Editorial in the July-August issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health (v89, #4) sums up our feature quite well.