NCC PORTAL

Find resources from across the six NCC's

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The Portal brings together a broad selection of resources from all six of the National Collaborating Centres (NCCs). Search for resources by clicking on NCC, Type, Topic and Core Competency.

Please note: the Portal is not exhaustive and not all resources are indexed by PHAC Core Competency.

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The Advisors of Policy Makers: Who Are They, How Do They Handle Scientific Knowledge and What Can We Learn About How to Share Such Knowledge with Them?

When one wishes to share public health knowledge in the hope of influencing public policy development, are policy makers the most relevant actors to target? Despite being often overlooked, the advisors of policy makers play an important role in public policy development. Moreover, when scientific knowledge is used in that process, advisors are the ones who handle such knowledge. This literature review analyzes 70 documents that focus on the observations of advisors themselves, or of actors who rub shoulders with them. It sketches the profile of these advisors: some of them are public servants in departments or in local governments, while others are political advisors in ministerial offices or in the legislative branch. Our paper then describes the work these advisors carry out, especially as it comes to using scientific knowledge. Last, it sets out to pinpoint the influence these advisors have in political circles.

Throughout the document, we draw on findings that emerge from the literature to suggest avenues for reflection to help readers to analyze their own contexts and determine the knowledge-sharing approach most suited to their needs.

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Cemetery Setback Distances to Prevent Surface Water Contamination

Primary inquiry: In Canada, as in many other countries, cemeteries are required to be setback a certain distance from waterbodies to protect drinking water sources from contaminated liquids that can arise from the decomposition of bodies after burial. What is recommended as a safe setback distance? What is the rationale for the setback distances used throughout Canada?

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Irrigating Food Crops with Water Containing Cyanobacteria Blooms

Primary inquiry: Small horticulture growers have been watering their crops with surface water containing a cyanobacterial bloom, before selling their crops at local markets. 1. Can irrigation of food crops using surface water affected by cyanobacteria blooms result in bioaccumulation of cyanotoxins in these crops? 2. Can cyanotoxins bioaccumulate to a concentration that might cause a public health concern? Please note: The information provided here is for the purpose of addressing a specific inquiry and is not subjected to external review. The information offered does not supersede federal, provincial, or local guidance or regulations

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Identifying and Addressing the Public Health Risks of Splash Parks

Splash parks, also known as splash pads, spray parks, or wet decks, have gained in popularity over the last decade. These interactive parks are artificially created depressions or basins into which water is sprayed, splashed or poured onto visitors; water is not permitted to accumulate, but instead drains immediately out of the play area. Splash parks may take one of two basic designs, which influences the associated public health risks. Non-recirculating or flow-through parks discharge the water directly to waste and present a relatively low risk to their users as the design is based on using fresh potable water. In contrast, recirculating parks collect water in an underground tank, apply some form of water treatment, and re-use the water again. This presents an increased risk of contamination and disease transmission that can be mitigated through proper design and operation.

The objective of this document is to identify risks to public health posed by splash parks, the factors that contribute to this risk, outline practices that can mitigate these risks, and summarize the existing regulatory environment for these facilities. It focuses on epidemiological risks rather than physical hazards such as slip and fall injuries, heat stroke, and foot lacerations.

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Knowledge Sharing and Public Policy Series - Policy Makers' Advisors, Scientific Knowledge and Knowledge Sharing: Highlights of a Literature Review and Key Lessons

The NCCHPP has published an extensive literature review that deals with political actors that are often overlooked: the advisors of policy makers. The analysis we produced explores their profiles, the way they use scientific knowledge and their influence in government circles. The summary offered here outlines highlights of the analysis and key considerations for public health actors hoping to share knowledge with policy makers' advisors.

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Tackling Poverty in Indigenous Communities in Canada

For First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada, who experience a disproportionate burden of illness, poverty is both deep and widespread. This paper briefly examines the breadth and depth of poverty in Indigenous communities using standard economic indicators. The paper shows some of the ways in which poverty contributes to lack of community health and well-being. It concludes by identifying a number of different strategies for tackling poverty in its economic dimensions, including some that have worked well in Indigenous communities.

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Float Tanks: Considerations for Environmental Public Health

Floatation refers to a meditative activity in which users float in a high-density Epsom salt solution in a dark, quiet environment. Because float tanks are distinct from swimming pools and other recreational water, questions have been raised regarding the need for and efficacy of various disinfection methods. Although direct evidence is lacking, pathogen kill assays and field studies from recreational water suggest the need for caution regarding H2O2+UV as a disinfection method. Float tanks do not appear to be risky in and of themselves; further research on floatation tanks under normal and worst-case operating conditions will help to inform best practices.

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Knowledge Sharing and Public Policy Series – A Representation of Influence Processes

Gaining a better understanding of how knowledge circulates in the political sphere can help improve knowledge-sharing practices so as to increase their desired outcomes. In order to deepen this understanding, a graphic representation (a logic model) of the processes through which public health knowledge can influence public policy is presented in this document.

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Health Impact Assessment in Environmental Health: Methods, Tools and Policy Change

Health impact assessment (HIA) is usually defined as a combination of procedures, methods and tools by which a policy, a program or a project can be judged or evaluated on the basis of its potential effects on the health of a population. This session will cover various aspects of HIA, including theoretical basis, HIA tools and use of HIA to influence policy. At the end of this session, participants will: 1) understand the HIA approach as demonstrated in theory and a case study; 2) acquire knowledge and skills in applying HIA by working through real-world examples; 3) be able to assess the relevance of HIA in their own diverse contexts and practices; and 4) understand how information from HIA can be used to influence policy. The session will include formal talks, a case example using waste-to-energy, and group work using case examples from participants’ own situations.

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