What is Public Health?

Public Health units are responsible for the protection and promotion of health and wellbeing of the general public. Public Health aims to improve the overall health of the population.

The services provided by Public Health agencies help to prevent the spread of diseases, promote healthy living, monitor health status to address any emerging issues or needs, develop and implement updated public policy, and prevent serious injuries.

Public Health units are specialized units that offer particular services in your community. The following are categories of public health units and the types of services you can find within them:

  • Child and Family Health: If you are thinking of starting a family, you can find programs in your local area that provide support from prenatal health care to resources on raising a child.
  • Disease Control: Here you can access immunization clinics, health and education counselling, and inspection clinics.
  • Environmental Health: You can find services that provide information about environmental hazards, bed bugs, air quality, pollutants, extreme weather warnings, and updates on potential viruses.
  • Food Safety: You can keep safe from foodborne illnesses by accessing resources on retail food safety practices, consumer awareness, and food enforcement regulations.
  • Healthy Living: To help you make better healthy choices in your lifestyle, you can find services and clinics that specialize in cancer prevention/screening, diabetes prevention, fitness, alcohol and drug therapy, sexual health, mental health, and youth health.

In Ontario, you can find specific Public Health programs or agencies within your own community.

For More Information

OPHS and Protocols - Detailed information on the Ontario Public Health Standards and Protocols. From Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Index of PHAC - An A to Z index of the services and resources offered on Public Health issues in Canada. From the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Health Services Directory - A list of Public Health Units in Ontario. From Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Last updated: July 12, 2016 4006090