Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 101, Issue 5, pp 399–404 | Cite as

CPHA and the Social Determinants of Health: An Analysis of Policy Documents and Statements and Recommendations for Future Action

  • Azalyn T. Manzano
  • Dennis RaphaelEmail author


Recently published reports have raised the Social Determinants of Health (SDH) to a level of prominence that makes it difficult for governments and health agencies to ignore. This commentary analyzes CPHA (Canadian Public Health Association) policy statements and positions dating from 1970 to the present to identify where these stand in relation to seven SDH discourses. We locate where CPHA stands on the SDH, appraise its role in the SDH debate, and propose actions to better position CPHA to address SDH. Our analysis indicates that CPHA has not only kept pace with developments in the field of social determinants, but has arguably been well ahead of its time. However, CPHA’s response to the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health shows a striking similarity to earlier commitments that have had limited impacts. We propose that CPHA consider analyzing some of the economic and political structures and justifying ideologies that have prevented its work in the public policy area from promoting public understanding and achieving public policy traction over the past 30 years. We also offer several steps that CPHA could take to reduce the gap between knowledge and action on the determinants of health in Canada.

Key words

Public health public policy health promotion social determinants of health 


Des rapports publiés récemment donnent aux déterminants sociaux de la santé (DSS) une visibilité qui les rend incontournables pour les gouvernements et les organismes de santé. Nous analysons les énoncés de politique et les positions de l’ACSP depuis 1970 pour voir où ils se situent par rapport à sept discours sur les DSS. Nous cernons la position de l’ACSP à l’égard d’un DSS, nous évaluons son rôle dans le débat et nous proposons des mesures pour qu’elle soit mieux à même d’aborder ce DSS. D’après notre analyse, non seulement l’ACSP a-t-elle fait place au changement dans le domaine des déterminants sociaux: elle a été très en avance sur son temps. Cependant, sa réaction à la Commission des déterminants sociaux de la santé de l’OMS est remarquablement semblable à ses engagements antérieurs, qui ont eu peu d’impact. Nous proposons à l’ACSP d’analyser certaines structures économiques et politiques et les idéologies sous-jacentes qui ont nui à ses efforts pour convaincre la population et pour faire avancer les politiques publiques au cours des 30 dernières années. Nous suggérons aussi plusieurs mesures que l’ACSP pourrait prendre pour réduire l’écart entre les connaissances et l’action sur les déterminants de la santé au Canada.

Mots clés

publique politique publique promotion de la santé déterminants sociaux de la santé 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health Policy and ManagementYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.School of Public Policy and AdministrationCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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