Coalition For Active Living

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Board Updates October 14, 2004

Hello to all,

I recently spent a busy week in Ottawa shifting hotels and meetings representing the Coalition for Active Living. I attended the Intersectoral Healthy Living Network meeting, and the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada's advisory group on Obesity policy. Lots to pass along to you.

First, the Intersectoral Healthy Living Network and the group that met last week was the coordinating committee for the network. The physical activity field was represented by CAL (me), Go for Green (Francine Godin), and CAAWS (Karin Lofstrom). Farida Gabbani is on the task group that is the executive group overseeing the Healthy Living Strategy so there were some voices for physical activity although as Farida mused over lunch, three out of 38 is not great representation given physical activity is one of the two focal points!

Before giving some details of what is happening federally, I think there is reason for some guarded optimism. I know this may be saying alot but there is a sense among those who attended this meeting that there is pressure being extended from the First Ministers presentations, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, and to some extend from Dr. Butler Jones to move Health Promotion activities forward. The three co-chairs of the Healthy Living Network (Claude Rocan, Neil MacDonald, Elinor Wilson) were required to provide Minister Bennett with a debriefing immediately after the meeting of First Ministers.

The major reason for some optimism is that the coordinating committee was divided into four work groups (Priorities and Objectives, Research and Surveillance, Intersectoral Fund, and Public Information) and each group is being asked to develop a business plan to identify budget costs! Karin, Farida and I were assigned to the priority work group given the Pan-Canadian Physical Activity strategy priorities and what we passed along from the Advisory Committee on Physical Activity. This work served us well in identifying what needs to be done in physical activity (this work was well worth the effort).

From my perspective the priorities mentioned will position our member organizations who can deliver on the activities mentioned in the PCPAS in good stead. The other piece of news that may work in our favor is Claude has asked me to chair the Priorities and Objectives work group at least for the first meeting. I believe this will provide some profile for the CAL membership - we were a noticeable group thanks to the other three voices! Despite the quick timelines - the final report needs to be ready in March to go to the Deputy Ministers of Health so the next few months will be active. As soon as the report from the meeting is prepared I will forward it to you so you can see what is happening. Our research folks will find a big role in the Research and Surveillance work group and the public information work group understands the need for physical activity messaging.

The challenge now is for the member groups of the Coalition who can deliver on the PCPAS to line up and identify what can be implemented and the costs associated with the work. CAL will recommend some strategies to the membership around this.

The CDPAC meeting on Policy around obesity was interesting. Steve Grundy and Dr. Andrew Pipe were in attendance, and physical activity was well represented. The policy priorities that were on the list place our community front and centre. As soon as the meeting summary comes out I will get these to you. There is some question about how this initiative fits with the Healthy Living Strategy and there is a conference call being set all concerned to address this matter. Stay tuned but this is another front where our community is well positioned. What comes out of this remains to be seen but CDPAC seems to think this has some priority within Health Promotion for future dollars.

Dr. Rick Bell
Coalition for Active Living