Public Health Legislation Questionnaire


The purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain your views on what public health laws could look like in this province, while also providing information on public health, the roles of public health officials, and demonstrate how public health influences your everyday life.

Overview of Public Health

Public health is an essential component of the health care system, but it is distinct from the delivery of clinical care services. Public health professionals focus on prevention, protection, and promotion of health for individuals, families, and communities. Public Health looks at health from a population level and figures out how to reduce or eliminate health concerns.

Are you wondering what public health officials do? Many people are not aware of the full scope of public health. If your food is safe, your water is clean, and you have the right information to make healthy choices, then public health officials are doing their jobs.

Public health officials include:

  • public health nurses
  • dietitians
  • medical officers of health (public health physician)
  • public health inspectors (environmental health officers)
  • epidemiologists (someone who studies health events)
  • healthy living consultants
  • other trained professionals

The public health workforce is represented in several government departments and throughout regional health authorities.

Public health, using a population health approach, aims to improve the health of the entire population and improve health equities. What does it mean when we say improve health equity?   Equity is not the same as equality. Equality means that everyone can have the same health supports. But everyone doesn’t need the same supports. The public health care services and supports you need are not necessarily the same supports your neighbor needs. Everyone should have access to the supports they need, when they need them. That is equity and that is what public health aims to do for the population - improve health equity.  Examples of actions that may improve health equity:  Everyone having access to safe food and healthy food options, or providing neighborhoods that promote physical activity.

Five Functions of Public Health

The five functions of public health include: health protection; disease and injury prevention; health promotion; surveillance; and population health assessment.

Why Review Newfoundland and Labrador’s Public Health Laws

Parts of Newfoundland and Labrador’s public health laws were passed almost 50 years ago. The laws were fitting for their time and almost completely focused on infectious diseases, environmental health, and hygiene.

The world has changed since Newfoundland and Labrador’s public health laws were first introduced. Today, we live in a world with increased international travel where disease can spread around the world in less than 24 hours, where climate change may impact public health and where rates of chronic disease (such as diabetes) are increasing.  While our public health practices have changed to meet these demands, our laws also need updating. This will help ensure that the practices and demands of today are met.

Current legislation applicable to public health:

The questionnaire is divided into four themes: general public health, population health assessment, public health programs and services, and public health authority. The questionnaire should only take 10 minutes to complete, depending on your answers. We thank you in advance for your participation. The questionnaire will be available until 4:30 p.m. on March 19, 2018.

If you have any questions related to the on-line feedback form, require an alternate format, would like to request to meeting with Health and Community Services officials or wish to submit a separate written submission, please call 729-0724 or email [email protected].

Please do not include your name or information that could identify you. This information is being collected for the purpose of obtaining your views on the new public health legislation. The authority for this collection comes from section 61(c) of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015. For questions or enquiries in relation to privacy legislation contact Blaine Edwards at [email protected], or phone 709-729-7007.

Please click here to fill out the questionnaire