Building Healthy Communities
Where people live has as much influence on health as how they live. We work with our municipalities and community organizations to ensure individuals and families live in healthy vibrant communities with a natural environment and “public realm” that support health, quality of life and prevent health problems. A healthy vibrant community is designed to promote:
- Safe routes for active transportation to work, school, shopping, social activities and home
- Access to parks and other amenities
- Opportunities for recreation
- Access to jobs, services, and healthcare
- Opportunities for positive social interaction
- Spaces that encourage mental well-being
- Access to outdoor spaces for all ages and abilities for play and transportation
- Access to healthy food
- Opportunities for aging in place
- Opportunities to be physically active
- Clean air and water quality
As a municipal leader, staff member, or partner, you play an important role in creating a community setting that supports health. Here, we offer information to support you on a variety of public health topics that pertain to municipalities. Review topics within this section of our website to learn more and to access resources related to each topic.
The public realm is defined as the publicly owned places and spaces that belong to and are accessible by everyone. These can include municipal streets, lanes, plazas, sidewalks, trails, parks, open spaces, schools, waterfronts, public transit systems, conservation areas, and civic buildings and institutions. It can be a passive environment, such as sitting at a cafe, or an active environment, such as cycling in a bike lane, or a combination of both. It can also be an interior space such as a library or a recreation centre, or an exterior space such as a multi-purpose trail or a public square.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit’s staff works in partnership with municipalities and community partners to create healthy and supportive environments.
Each municipality has an assigned Public Health Nurse (PHN) who works in the municipality’s geographic area. The Municipal PHN Liaison (Municipal PHN) is a health knowledge broker, capacity builder, facilitator, and champion for health in the community. The Municipal PHN can assist municipalities to identify strengths and health concerns in order to build healthier environments. More specifically, the Municipal PHN can assist municipalities:
- Navigate the Health Unit’s resources and services
- By providing consultations and resources
- With existing and emerging committees, policies, and practices that contribute to Active Transportation, Built Environment, Healthy Eating, Injury Prevention, and Community Prevention of Problematic Substance Use through effective comprehensive, health promotion interventions
- To connect to services and programs offered by other community partners
- By awareness raising and supporting community wide initiatives that impact the health of the community
- By taking part in community consultations and providing comments
- To achieve community designations (e.g., Bike Friendly, Age Friendly, Youth Friendly, Walk Friendly)
- With existing and emerging Municipal Drug Strategies (MDS) and alcohol strategies
- With gathering community best practices, research, information and resources as well as collaborating with municipalities and the community regarding awareness and education
- To work towards the “Healthy Community Vision”
The Municipal PHN can also facilitate consultations with a Public Health Nutritionist, a Health Promoter, the Smoke-Free Ontario (SFO) Team, and other Public Health professionals.
The SFO team can support municipalities in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark by:
- Conducting inspections, providing signage, etc. to the municipalities, as a workplace, to ensure compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA)
- Ensuring municipal public places like parks, play structures, municipal recreation facilities and sports fields are signed and comply with the SFOA. Municipalities are encouraged to visit our website to order signs.
- Adopting bylaws that mirror or expand upon the SFOA in order to:
- Further protect residents from second-hand smoke & vapour exposure;
- Indirectly encourage cessation;
- Reduce cigarette butt litter; and
- Bolster enforcement through supporting municipal bylaw enforcement officers.
- Encouraging additional policies to help protect from second-hand smoke (e.g., housing policies)
- Supporting workplace cessation efforts through provincial initiatives and contests and providing Nicotine Replacement Therapies
Together we can create healthier communities!
Get Youth Involved
Invite youth to work with communities and municipalities to share their ideas. Help to create youth friendly environments, promote youth engagement and positive youth development. Ensure policies, infrastructure and programming include youth, not only as a target, but also as leaders and advocates. The Youth Strategy Framework for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark is a road map to help guide, focus, and maximize collaborative actions to support the development of healthy, caring, responsible, and resilient youth.
For more information on supporting youth in your community visit the Alcohol, Cannabis & Drugs page.