1.0 Background

With the adoption of the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health (Rio Declaration) at the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health in October 2011, a global political commitment was made to address the factors that shape health, also known as the social determinants of health, and to reduce health inequities.  With the ratification of the Rio Declaration at the 65th World Health Assembly in May 2012, WHO Member States agreed to implement the pledges made in the Rio Declaration, and to develop action plans to reduce health inequities. 

Within the Government of Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (the Agency) is the lead on implementation of the Rio Declaration.  These Terms of Reference outline the parameters for the Canadian Council on Social Determinants of Health (CCSDH), which supports the Agency in initiating or facilitating actions to reduce health inequities and meet the commitments of the Rio Declaration. 


2.0 Mandate

The CCSDH is a collaborative multisectoral stakeholder group established to:

a) Provide the Agency with advice on matters relating to the implementation of the Rio Declaration, including planning, monitoring, and reporting; and

b) Facilitate and leverage action on the social determinants of health through the member networks and targeted, intersectoral initiatives.


The CCSDH will fulfill its mandate through the following activities, among others:

a) Provide the Agency with advice on evidence-based options for policy, mechanisms and tools regarding action on the social determinants of health at the national level; 
b) Identify opportunities for collaborative actions between CCSDH members, as well as those involving individual networks, that address the determinants of health;
c) Support the creation or adaptation of tools to leverage action on the social determinants of health at various levels; 
d) Build greater understanding of the social determinants of health by brokering knowledge exchange and dissemination at the sub-national, national and international levels on the goals and implementation of the Rio Declaration; and
e) Implement annual work plans to facilitate planning and monitoring.


3.0 Governance

The CCSDH will be co-chaired by:

a) One Agency representative, appointed by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada; and
b) One CCSDH member, elected by members for a term of two (2) years, with the possibility of a one (1) year extension.

The governance model includes a Nominations Task Group, which is responsible for making recommendations to the co-chairs on potential members for the CCSDH.  The Nominations Task Group will include one Agency representative, one member from the health sector, one member from outside the health sector, and one member representing Aboriginal Peoples. 


The CCSDH must have quorum when making decisions on strategic directions or priorities.  Quorum is one half of the members plus one.  A minimum of one co-chair is required for quorum.


The CCSDH will be made up of a maximum of 25 members, including the two co-chairs. The co-chairs may adjust the number of members to ensure the appropriate range of knowledge, expertise, experience, and perspectives.  

The CCSDH will comprise:
a) institutional members, representing an organization selected from the sectors that play a role in addressing the social determinants of health or health inequalities; and 
b) individual members, selected based on the merit of their contribution to advancing knowledge and action on the social determinants of health or health inequalities.

Membership will be sought from a variety of sectors, including various levels of government (F/P/T and municipal), civil society, Aboriginal Peoples, business, employers, labour and academia. 

Potential members will be identified based on considerations such as:
a) Having high level Canadian expertise in research, policy or action regarding the social determinants of health and health inequalities;
b) Being a leading representative of an active network of stakeholders with a role to play in addressing the social determinants of health and reducing health inequalities nationally; and
c) Experience in intersectoral collaboration.

Term of Membership

Members will be appointed for a three (3) year term. Upon mutual agreement between the co-chairs and the member, this may be extended for a second term.  Members serve as volunteers and will not be remunerated for their services.


The Agency will provide secretariat support to the CCSDH.  The Secretariat will provide the Agency and co-chairs with strategic and tactical advice in the management of the CCSDH and work closely with the co-chairs and members to advance the priorities of the CCSDH. 


Meetings will be held two (2) times a year in Ottawa. Additional meetings or teleconferences may be held on an as-needed basis as directed by the CCSDH co-chairs.   


Prepared by:

CCSDH Secretariat
Social Determinants and Science Integration Directorate
Public Health Agency of Canada
September 2013