Coalition For Active Living

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Board Updates October, 2000

At the "We're Ready, Let's Go" meeting in Ottawa in November, 1999, the Active Living Community set out on a new path. The Coalition for Active Living was formed. It is an exciting new model for shared leadership that is based on the willingness of each of us to take ownership through shared responsibility for the physical activity objectives in Canada.

This Update will give you a flavour of the work done to date and a taste of what is to come. As you know, the Coalition is in the early stages of development. The Facilitators and Workgroups are on one hand pleased with the progress to date and on the other hand somewhat overwhelmed by the magnitude of this undertaking!

The Coalition for Active Living will be meeting in Montreal, April 8-9, 2000. Watch your mailbox in November for further details and information on the lead-up process. The Facilitators are putting the final touches on a plan that includes opportunities for members, either face-to-face or electronically, to provide input to achieving the goal "To ensure that the environments where Canadians live, learn, work and play support regular physical activity."

This will be an opportunity for you to provide input in order to identify:

If you have questions about anything in this Update or would like further information please contact any of the Facilitators or Pat Hunt. The new Coalition for Active Living phone number is (613) 523-8794, e-mail at or write to the Coalition for Active Living, 1600 James Naismith Drive, Gloucester, On.
K1B 5N4.

Let's keep in touch!

Cathie Kryzanowski, Chair

1. The Leadership Team

Facilitators have been working together and with their workgroups via conference calls, e-mail and face-to-face meetings. Workgroup reports are #4. The Facilitators are :

Name Workgroup Phone E-mail
Cora Craig Research (613) 233-5582
Jim Evanchuk Communications (204) 945-4405
Marj Keast Communications (416) 314-7202
Cathie Kryzanowski Chair (306) 924-0399
Guy Tanguay Coalition Building (613) 748-5622
Garth Turtle Coalition Building (902) 368-4663
Neil Semenchuk Advocacy (514) 630-2733

Support is being provided to the Coalition Facilitators, Workgroups and members by:

Name Role Phone E-mail
Don LeClair Health Canada Consultant (902)368-4663
Francois Lagarde Planning, Facilitation (514) 694-7129
Pat Hunt Program Co-ordinator (613)730-2912
Stephane Cova Health Canada:e-support (613)946-6666

2. Progress to date

The Coalition for Active Living has made significant progress in its first few months.

3. Learnings

At the September 9/10th Facilitators' meeting in Ottawa, workplans were reviewed and learnings shared.

4. Workgroup Reports

4.1 Research Workgroup

What we said we would do

  1. Advocate to Canadian Institutes for Health Research for physical activity research before the end of January 2000
  2. Gather information on best practices for active living in workplaces, schools, homes, sport, recreation, communities and for individuals in the creation of supportive environments.

What we have done

  1. Hosted by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, the working group drafted a letter to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research suggesting mechanisms to address the apparent lack of explicit support for preventive health research. In addition, the group supported and assisted in the creation of a list of peer reviewers that was being complied by the Canadian Council of University Physical Education and Kinesiology Administrators. These tasks were accomplished during December through early February thanks to the lead taken by Phil Gardener in drafting the letter and the support provided by Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and Societe canadienne pour l'apprentissage psychomoteur et la psychologie sportive in forwarding lists of reviewers to CCUPEKA.
  2. There was duplication between the second objective and work outlined in the Communication Work Group. In addition, the Facilitators recalled that there had been discussion of input into the development of a research plan during the November meeting. Cora Craig contacted individuals who had expressed an interest in working in the Research Group in June. The interested parties will hold their first meeting in September to clarify the activities to be accomplished by April.

What we have learned and recommended adjustments

Coalition members are able to rally to address a specific task on short notice.
Facilitators suggested that the contribution of the Research Work Group to the creation of a database for best practices could be to identify assessment criteria.

What is in the works

Discussion with the work group concerning clarification of the second objective and development of a workplan to meet the objective. The next update will confirm the objective or objectives to be achieved by April and an update on the workplan for doing so.

4.2 Coalition Building Committee

The Coalition Building was initially divided into two work groups; Internal Development and External Expansion. The Facilitators agreed to merge the two groups in order to streamline the work. The Coalition Building Committee met in Ottawa July 9/10, 2000 to review the progress to date and begin planning for the Active Living Community meeting next April.

The most significant learning over the past few months is that our work will have increased impact if we can focus a priority goal from of the six goals developed by members. To that end the Committee recommended to the Facilitators that all Workgroups begin to take action on this goal:

"To ensure that the environments where Canadians live, learn, work and play support regular physical activity."

The Facilitators accepted the recommendation and will use this goal as the focus for all workgroups leading up to the April meeting.

What we said we would do

Objective Status
1. To consolidate and build relationships with leaders and organizations in various levels, sectors and government ministries. Ongoing. Workgroup members are networking at meetings, conferences,events e.g. the Can. School Sport Federation, CSSF hopefully will be on board:100,00 students 10,000 coaches and a great communication system.
2. To put mechanisms in place to ensure sustainibility of CAL. Funding has been received from Health Canada. Accounting and administrative processes are in place.
3. To put mechanisms in place that enable active engagement of members. The present data base is being reviewed and updated. Plans for the April 2000 meeting include outreach/feedback mechanisms.
4. To develop inventories and data bases that document key contacts as well as the expertise of Coalition members. Stephane Cova from Health Canada will be assisting with developing a data base that provides accessible information. New members are being added to the existing data base.
5. To develop and enhance communications links between Coalition members. In process. The data base, the Active Living site on the Canadian Health Network and Activitalk are important tools.
6. To host an annual planning session to determine the actions for the Coalition. To ensure that ALL Coalition members have input into the planning process. To create opportunities for joint planning and inclusion of all stakeholders. In process. The CAL meeting will take place in Montreal April 7/8. Francois Lagarde will assist with the planning process and Pat Hunt with logistics.
7. To support the process of moving forward together through the creation and ongoing maintenance of a data base of networks and the establishment of funding. See 4 and 5. The application for Phase 2 funding has been filed with Health Canada. Secretarial support will be contracted to maintain the data base.
8. To encourage federal and provincial/territorial governments to come together with the Coalition to coordinate strategies as well as identify and fill gaps to achieve the 10% Marj Keast and Don LeClair co-chair the FPT Advisory Committee. FTP members will be assisting the Coalition Building Committee in the outreach initiative leading up to the April meeting. Recommendations with solutions from the April meeting will be forwarded to the FTP Advisory Committee.

What we learned:

We learned that we are clearly in a developmental phase. It takes a great deal of time to come to grips with organizational issues and create emerging systems and structures the are true to the intent of members. Building on the work of Active Living Canada is a challenge that requires considerable commitment and energy. We learned that we can do it with a lot of help from our friends!

4.3 Communications Committee

What we said we would do

  1. Develop communication strategies and services to provide information to other leaders and the general public.
  2. Develop common and key messages for population groups and sectors.
  3. Develop support materials and training for leaders re: common messages.
  4. Improve the flow and exchange of "best practices" information via information technology among and between coalition members.
  5. Provide current and credible active living information for leaders and the general public.
  6. Develop and/or enhance the Coalition member's web sites - contents and links.

What we have actually done and related impact

  1. Participaction partnered with local physical activity experts and conducted media interviews on physical activity and obesity using television, radio and print, in seven cities across Ontario in the spring of 2000. The message focused on the "take a first step" theme, and was directed to baby boomers and sedentary children.
  2. Received endorsement from the FPT Advisory Committee on Fitness & Recreation to support the communications initiatives of the Active Living Coalition.
  3. Common themes and messages to promote physical activity have been shared with CAL members through 12 FPT media communication workshops and SummerActive 2000 i.e. information sheets, web site, and print and radio PSAs.

What we have learned, recommended adjustments

  1. If we develop a "news worthy" story, the press will get involved. Alternatively, "old news" is not of interest to major broadcasters on the print media - we must have new material.
  2. To be effective, we must not stray from the chosen and agreed-upon themes, messages and communication objectives set out in the joint FPT Framework. CAL members need more direct exposure to the key themes and messages, the easy-to-use tools available to apply the themes and messages.
  3. The CAL will contribute to an action plan and investigate ways to share common themes and messages with its members.

What is in the works

  1. As a result of feedback received at the initial Media workshops, Health Canada is currently developing "great ideas" web site for sharing specific experience/learnings by local level leaders about how to work through media to deliver active living message to targeted audiences.
  2. P/Ts have been invited to co-host a second round of media workshops - many have confirmed their interest. The following are confirmed: Alberta - Nov. 20th, Saskatchewan - Dec. 12, Manitoba - Feb 24th, and Newfoundland - Jan. 23. CAL members will be encouraged to contact P/T hosts to register in the planned workshops.
  3. A new 3-year strategy for SummerActive is currently being completed in cooperation with P/T governments and interested NGOs. Through SA 2001 (May 11-June 22, 2001) community leaders and CAL members will have access to ready-made tools and information that build on key themes and messages noted above. Fall promo materials (information postcard, electronic banner ad, e-mail announcement) will be available to all interested organizations in October, 2000 for distribution through organizations' networks to inform leaders of 2001 dates, encourage them to plan for SA events, encourage them to register events in spring, and ready them for receipt of leaders materials in mid-January, 2001.

4.4 Advocacy Committee:

What we said that we would do

  1. Put active living on public and political agendas.
  2. Promote the link between health and physical activity (physical inactivity and health care concerns).

What we did

Members of the Advocacy Committee met by Conference call to work on finalizing the Position Statement drafted at the November meeting and discuss strategy. The Position statement was completed and passed on to the Facilitators. It is now being incorporated into a Declaration for Active Living.

One of the strategies is to have members positioned so that CAL messages can be delivered. For example, Neil Semenchuk, Guy Tanguay and Scott Ogilvie are members of the Advisory Committee for the Development of the Physical Activity Guide for Children and Youth.

Marie Carleson has established an informal sub-group of the Advocacy Committee in Alberta.

The Adopt-An-MP information packages are in Neil Semenchuk's office. If anyone would like a copy, please contact him.

What we are going to do

CAL needs to revisit the advocacy strategy in light of the new goal:
"To ensure that the environments where Canadians live, learn, work and play support regular physical activity."

CFLRI research indicates that increase in physical activity in Canada has plateaued since 1995. We need to be talking about how to "get unstuck" so that the goal of reducing physical inactivity by 10% by 2003 can be achieved.

The Coalition must invest in building relationships with other Coalitions, particularly in the Health Sector, who are beginning to speak about physical activity/inactivity e.g. Cardiovascular Coalition.

Strategic Actions