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Creating the conditions for resilient communities: A public health approach to emergencies

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The report is organized into four sections:

  • Section 1 details the rise in the frequency and intensity of emergencies in Canada, and highlights inequities in exposure and vulnerability to emergencies. It also distinguishes among hazards, emergencies and disasters (p. 11).
  • Section 2 outlines how emergencies in Canada are addressed, foregrounding the emergency management continuum spanning prevention and mitigation, preparedness, recovery and response (p. 25).
  • Section 3 highlights the role for health promotion, a core public health function, to contribute to emergency management (p. 26).
  • Section 4 outlines specific opportunities to apply health promotion approaches to the emergency management continuum. It highlights, for example, how health promotion approaches can support action on the drivers and determinants of emergencies (p. 39).

Finally, the report offers recommendations on embedding health promotion in emergency management policies and practices (p. 73). Among the recommendations are intersectoral action on the structural and social determinants of health, provision of resources to support community-led interventions regarding emergency management, development of community-level indicators and creation of timely data collection systems that respect Indigenous data sovereignty. Other recommended actions centre the importance of training and workforce development related to emergency management, and the integration of health promotion into emergency policies, plans and procedures.

The report also provides examples of several health promotion tools or approaches that can support emergency management. Featured tools include ethical frameworks that can help public health practitioners and decision-makers to analyze ethical challenges during a health emergency.

Use this resource to:

  • strengthen your understanding of terminology related to emergency management
  • spark discussion on the potential contributions of public health to emergency management
  • guide action on integrating health promotion approaches and principles to emergency management


Alignment with NCCDH work:

Understanding how public health can support emergency management aligns with NCCDH work that focuses on pandemic planning and natural disaster management.

In 2023, the NCCDH released Lessons in pandemic planning, response and recovery: A summary of Equity in Action stories, a report summarizing stories of action to advance health equity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, the six National Collaborating Centres for Public Health collaborated on the Long-Term Evacuees Project.


Public Health Agency of Canada (2023). Creating the conditions for resilient communities: A public health approach to emergencies.   

Tags: Leadership & capacity building, Organizational capacity, Pandemic, Public Health Agency of Canada, Document, Report / Document