Thank you all for your inquiries, your support and shared dismay about the announcement of the impending elimination of the Canadian Health Network (CHN) program (http://www.blogs.opc.on.ca/?p=199). There is a groundswell of support and many small actions have helped spread the news--keep up the good work!
An ad hoc Friends of CHN action group has been suggested to focus attention on the closure and its impact, and to try to turn this decision around. This group should include key users and contributors such as health librarians, nurses, public health associations, seniors groups and other like-minded organizations.
OPC can contribute to an action; but we cannot be the action group. Are there "champions" who can kick-start this support/action group? Are you that person? Do you know someone who has some time and energy to contribute? We'll help you connect; contact Catherine Bryant, Communications Specialist, OPC, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have asked for more information on the funding cuts, the financial issues and plans for replacement. The official "messaging" (in English and French) that has been sent to the Canadian Health Network Affiliates from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is posted on the OPC website (http://opc.on.ca/english/index_eng.php, in What's new)/ It states that "The Agency is undergoing a Grants and Contribution program reduction exercise in order to identify $16.7 million in current and ongoing savings. As a result, difficult decisions are being made, which includes the wind down of CHN by March 31, 2008." But more important is what the official messaging does not tell us.
It does not indicate what will happen to the 20,000 high quality prevention and health promotion resources contributed by the collaboration of more than 1,600 Network Contributors - Canadian hospitals, libraries, universities, non-government and community-based organizations. It doesn't tell you that more than 60 jobs will be lost as the 27 organizations forming CHN Affiliates close down their CHN work. Most significantly, it doesn't address the erosion of health promotion and prevention investments and public health programming or the loss of a highly-used and valued, non-commercial, bilingual, Canadian source of health information. And finally, we do not know why CHN was chosen to be cut.