Google Translate Disclaimer

Translation on this website is provided by Google Translate, a third-party automated translator tool. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of translations performed by Google Translate, or for any issues or damages resulting from its use.

Planning for Health
print header

Planning for Health

III. Establish relationships

The final piece of laying the groundwork for action is to build relationships. Because transportation and planning decisions fall outside of the jurisdiction of public health, all efforts towards healthier built environments depend entirely on collaborating with professionals in these fields. For this reason, relationship building is of utmost importance and should be actively supported. Public health units described two approaches to internal relationship building: initiating and joining. They also described building relationships with external partners, both in the community and in the development industry.

To jump-start the conversation around healthy built environments, public health units described holding numerous in-person meetings with individual municipal departments, as well as convening multiple departments around a specific topic. Often, these departments had not connected with each other before, and public health units were able to act as a broker to break down silos within municipal structures and bring people together around a common goal. 

Public health units described joining municipal and regional committees and working groups, both formal and informal, on a wide variety of topics, including active transportation, climate action, air quality and health hazards. These committees provide opportunities to give input, and also help public health units keep abreast of municipal activities impacting health. In some cases, public health units are taking a leading role by chairing these committees. Others are taking steps to formalize their participation by seeking voting membership. 

• Timiskaming Public Health Unit convened a workshop on active transportation with municipal staff, councillors and community members. The workshop was facilitated by Share the Road Cycling Coalition, an Ontario-wide cycling organization, who also produced a report with recommendations resulting from the workshop. The report was approved by Council in Temiskaming Shores and led to the creation of a Bicycle Friendly Communities Committee with representation from Council and community members. More information about Temiskaming Shores can be found in Share the Road’s Bicycle Friendly Communities Yearbook from 2016 and 2017.

• One health unit reported that they sought to broaden the scope of stakeholders they were working with by asking themselves the question, ‘Who influences the design of communities?’ Through this exercise, the health unit identified nontraditional partners, such as construction contractors. By working with these companies at an early stage, they have been able to see healthy community elements incorporated into proposals. For example, a contractor’s proposal for the construction of a major bridge included a safe active transportation route, and they won the contract in part because of their commitment to health.

Did you find what you were looking for today?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...