Abbreviated Terms of Reference

The Canadian Council on Social Determinants of Health (CCSDH) is a collaborative multisectoral stakeholder group established by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to facilitate action on the social determinants of health (SDH) by leveraging member networks and implementing targeted intersectoral initiatives. The CCSDH is the only national multisectoral group with a mandate to address the SDH and health inequalities in Canada.

The CCSDH mandate and membership evolved in three distinct phases:

  • Phase 1 (2005-2008): Initially called the Canadian Reference Group on the Social Determinants of Health (CRG), PHAC established the CRG to inform Canada’s contribution to the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on the Social Determinants of Health  (the Commission).
  • Phase 2 (2009-2012): Following publication of the Commission’s Final Report, the CRG’s mandate was renewed and membership broadened to include additional leaders from public health and other key sectors. The CRG expanded its efforts towards developing reports, products and tools that support and inform multisectoral action.
  • Phase 3 (2012-Present): Following the World Health Assembly’s ratification of the Rio Political Declaration on the Social Determinants of Health (Rio Declaration) in May 2012, during which Member States agreed to develop action plans to reduce health inequities, the group was re-named as the Canadian Council on Social Determinants of Health. PHAC is Canada’s lead for the implementation of the Rio Declaration and the CCSDH’s work aligns with the Rio Declaration pledges.

The CCSDH is a collaborative multisectoral stakeholder group established to:

  1. Provide PHAC with advice on matters relating to the implementation of the Rio Declaration, including planning, monitoring, and reporting; and,
  2. Facilitate and leverage action on the SDH through the member networks and through targeted and collaborative intersectoral initiatives.

Policy Rationale
The CCSDH recognizes:

  • Actions on the SDH are upstream interventions which require engagement of sectors both within and beyond traditional health sectors;
  • The CCSDH structure and governance are designed to support multisectoral actions through the effective dissemination and sharing of information across sectors to advance action on the SDH in Canada; and,
  • The CCSDH focusses its activities and initiatives at the community, national and global levels, which is consistent with the Commission’s conceptual framework for tackling SDH.

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

  • Providing PHAC with advice on the development and implementation of actions to address the SDH;
  • Identifying the objectives and deliverables the CCSDH will pursue in fulfillment of its mandate;
  • Supporting the creation and/or adaptation of initiatives and products that support multisectoral action on the SDH;
  • Actively disseminating information on CCSDH activities, initiatives and products through member networks;
  • Identifying opportunities for collaborative actions between members, and across sectors, that address the SDH and target health inequalities; and,
  •  Building greater understanding of the SDH and related intersectoral interventions through knowledge exchange at the community, national and global levels.

The CCSDH will be co-chaired by:

  • The President of PHAC or delegate; and,
  • One CCSDH member, representing a non-health sector, endorsed by members and approved by the President of PHAC, for a term of three (3) years, with the possibility of a two (2) year extension.

The CCSDH will have a maximum of 25 members, including the two co-chairs. The co-chairs will ensure that the knowledge, expertise, experience, and perspectives required to fulfill the mandate is represented through the membership.  Membership will include various levels of government (Federal/Provincial/Territorial and municipal), civil society, Indigenous Peoples, business, labour and academia. The CCSDH will comprise:

  • Institutional members, representing an organization selected from the sectors that play a role in addressing the SDH or health inequalities;
  • One representative each from the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health and the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health; and,
  • Individual members, selected based on their expertise or contribution to advancing knowledge and action on the SDH or health inequalities.

Health Portfolio will be represented as follows:

  • Public Health Agency of Canada:
    • The President of PHAC as co-chair;
    • Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch (ex-officio);
    • Executive Director, Social Determinants and Science Integration Directorate;
  • Health Canada: senior executive from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch; and,
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research: senior executive from a stop acne info.

CCSDH members will be recruited through a targeted nomination process. Potential members will be identified based on considerations such as:

  • Having extensive Canadian expertise in research, policy or action regarding the SDH and health inequalities;
  • Being a leading representative of an active network of stakeholders with a role to play in addressing the SDH and reducing health inequalities nationally; and,
  • Experience in intersectoral collaboration.

Term of Membership
Individual 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 two (2) years

Media and Communications
All media requests related to the CCSDH will be directed through the Secretariat to the PHAC Communications and Public Affairs Branch.

Meetings will be held a minimum of two (2) times a year. Teleconferences will be arranged as needed and directed by the CCSDH co-chairs. 

Review of the CCSDH
PHAC will review the mandate, activities, terms of reference, and relevance of the CCSDH every three (3) years to ensure that the group continues to meet ongoing needs of the CCSDH and PHAC.  Recommendations for improvement will be considered on an ongoing basis.

Prepared by:
Secretariat – Canadian Council on Social Determinants of Health
Social Determinants and Science Integration Directorate
Public Health Agency of Canada
March 4, 2016