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Over one third of Health Canada's employees work in communities outside of the National Capital Region. Programs and services are delivered to Canada's diverse population by Health Canada's regional offices in the British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic and Northern Regions.
In 2006, Health Canada created the Public Affairs, Consultation and Regions Branch to improve the integration of national and regional perspectives into its work, including policy and consultation activities. Over the next three years, Health Canada's regions will continue to advance the work that is underway to realize the benefits of this new operating environment:
The following are examples of specific ways the regions will continue to help Health Canada deliver on its Strategic Outcomes.
Strengthened knowledge base to address health and health care priorities:
Access to safe and effective health products and food and information for healthy choices:
Reduced health and environmental risks from products and substances, and safer living and working environments:
Better health outcomes and reduction of health inequalities between First Nations and Inuit and other Canadians:
Corporate Management - Leadership and Infrastructure to support the Department's Regional Operations:
Bringing leadership, coherence and expertise to the overall strategic direction of Health Canada's scientific responsibilities and activities and providing strategic advice to the Deputy Minister and Minister on health science issues are key roles for Health Canada's Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS). The management and governance of science and research, both internal to Health Canada and externally, requires a comprehensive and systematic approach. Productive collaborative efforts are critical to improving knowledge-based approaches to domestic and global health issues. Fostering science partnerships and linkages within the Department and with external partners/stakeholders promotes awareness and understanding of our science and its contribution to the health and safety of Canadians.
OCS champions science within Health Canada by ensuring the effective use of science in policy making, enhancing science capacity and promoting excellence, and building linkages across the Department and with partners across the science policy and research communities. These activities help to enhance the health and safety of Canadians by ensuring that sound science is applied to decision-making, that accurate information is available to support informed choices by the public, and that Health Canada is positioned to work in partnership with other departments and other health research stakeholders to address national health research priorities.
A critical component of the effective use of sound science in policy making and regulatory decision-making is the external advice provided to the Department by the Science Advisory Board, an independent group of experts that provides the Minister with advice on departmental science priorities and directions. Equally important is the work of the Research Ethics Board, also an independent body of experts that ensures that departmental research involving humans meets the highest ethical standards. OCS provides secretariats to these bodies.
Key to the Department's role in meeting broader governmental and federal science and technology (S&T) objectives/commitments is OCS' coordination and participation in interdepartmental S&T activities and horizontal science management issues.
Ongoing roles for the OCS include providing advice on and support to the management of intellectual property generated through departmental science activities, promoting and communicating Health Canada's science and research, and organizing the Health Canada Science Forum, which raises awareness of departmental science activities internally and with stakeholders. To further build Health Canada's research capacity, OCS also administers a Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and a Visiting Fellowship Program, bringing new people and new ideas into the Department and raising awareness and understanding of the important role played by science in regulation.