Public health is a unique part of the health care system. Instead of focusing on treatment for the sick and injured, the goal of public health units is to help people in a community stay healthy by preventing disease and health hazards, protecting health, and promoting healthy behaviours.
To do this, all health units follow the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS). The OPHS outlines the minimum services that each health unit in Ontario must offer to the public and the expected public health improvements that each program should achieve.
With the government’s emphasized commitment to prevention of disease and illness, the work of public health and its outcomes from following the OPHS are a large part of a strategy to make Ontarians healthier.
As a starting point for the strategy, the province put “accountability agreements” in place in 2011 to help public health units stay on track towards meeting public health goals.
The agreement outlines each health unit’s obligation to measure, monitor, report on and improve its performance of 16 public health activities. The measures are related to key areas of public health:
- public health inspection
- infectious disease prevention and control
- injury prevention
- substance misuse prevention
- tobacco prevention and control
- child and reproductive health.
Visit past years' performance indicators by clicking on the appropriate link in the left-hand menu.