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#Fun Fact: Toronto is The Beginning of a Healthy City

Toronto is noted as the birthplace of Healthy Cities. Healthy City Toronto began in 1984 and as early as 1985 was building alliances with key people in city departments. The public planning process was initiated by the city’s Board of Health in 1986 and included vision workshops, a comprehensive environmental scan, development and distribution of issue papers, and public forums that resulted in Healthy Toronto 2000. This report contained specific recommendations for action that were accepted by the Board of Health and unanimously approved by the City Council. In 1989, the City Council formally launched the Healthy City Toronto project and established a Healthy City office.

Sourced from a report entitled Healthy Toronto by Design (October 2011), Toronto often ranks among the best cities in terms of fulfilling the requirements of a healthy city. The Toronto Board of Trade Scorecard on Prosperity compares 25 global cities and in 2011, Toronto ranked 8th, down from 4th in 2009 and 2010. On some economic indicators (such as level of professional employment, overall tax burden, and the number of residential permits issued, also for its large proportion of immigrants, good teacher-student ratio in schools, population with higher education, and a relatively low crime rate, Toronto ranked high. Toronto rated well for housing affordability, however, Toronto was the second least affordable Canadian city.

Toronto Public Health had a strategic plan for 2015-2019 (from The vision is to become a healthy city for all and the mission statement is “TPH reduces health inequities and improves the health of the whole population”. There are 5 priority directions in this plan :

  1. Serve the public health needs of Toronto’s diverse communities

  2. Champion healthy public policy

  3. Anticipate and respond to emerging public health threats

  4. Lead innovation in public health practice

  5. Be a healthy workplace

And based on the priorities, these are some actions that Toronto did to achieve the vision and mission.

  • Ensure all public health services are accessible

  • Identify key public health interventions to address the needs of seniors

  • Monitor and report on progress toward healthy equity

  • Collaborate with city divisions and community stakeholders to advanced municipal policy for healthy social, built, and natural environments

  • Promote healthy food system change including food access, food retail environments, and food literacy

  • Monitor and identify emerging public health threats, including health hazards, emerging infectious diseases, and extreme weather

  • Enhance population readiness through education and immunization

  • Build the evidence base for public health practice through research

  • Exchange knowledge with other public health organizations, academic institutions, government, city divisions, community agencies and the private sector

  • Enhance capacity to measure and improve service quality

  • Implement a workforce strategy to recruit and retain highly skilled staff, at all levels of the organization, that reflect the diversity of the city

  • Acknowledge staff and their contributions to excellence in all aspects of public health

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