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Section I: Overview

Minister's Message

Leona Aglukkaq - Minister of HealthAs Canada's new Minister of Health, I am pleased to present Health Canada's 2007-2008 Departmental Performance Report (DPR), which outlines the Department's and the Government's health-related accomplishments as well as progress in fulfilling its commitments to Canadians during the past year.

As a former Minister of Health and Social Services for Nunavut, the portfolio is one that is of great interest to me.  I plan to continue the important work begun by my predecessor, the Honourable Tony Clement, and will be addressing new priorities as the needs of Canadians evolve.

The Departmental Performance Report shows that this department has followed the agenda outlined in the 2007 Speech from the Throne; the 2007 and 2008 Budgets, Health Canada's 2007-2008 Report on Plans and Priorities; and in government-wide initiatives. We have taken on those commitments and responded with important innovations that are addressing the health priorities of Canadians.

The Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, announced by the Prime Minister in December 2007, draws on lessons learned by Health Canada as it works to reduce risks associated with the safety of food as well as health and consumer products. The Department played a central role in supporting the Government by working toward modernizing Canada’s regulatory system for health and consumer products and food. Health Canada has taken an active role in encouraging industry to bring innovative, safe and effective health products to the market.

For all Canadians, health is affected by the air that we breathe and the space we inhabit. Environment Canada and Health Canada are partners with respect to the government's Clean Air Agenda and Chemicals Management Plan, which builds on Canada's position as a global leader in the safe management of chemical substances and products. We are beginning to implement an Air Quality Health Index and are assessing the health risks from indoor and outdoor sources of air pollution. Health Canada is also monitoring more than 200 chemicals that may be hazardous to the health of Canadians. This monitoring may lead to future regulations of some of those chemicals.

Health Canada continues to work towards coordinated and innovative approaches to improve the overall health outcomes and ensure access to health services for First Nations and Inuit communities. In 2007, the Governments of Canada and British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council signed Canada's first Tripartite First Nations Health Plan. This plan commits these parties to work together to create a new governance structure that will enhance First Nations involvement in the delivery of health services and promote better integration and coordination of federally and provincially funded health services.

The National Anti-Drug Strategy, announced in 2007, is a collaborative effort involving the Department of Justice, Health Canada, and Public Safety Canada. This Strategy has three components: preventing illicit drug use; treating those with illicit drug dependencies; and combating production and distribution of illicit drugs. On behalf of all partners, Health Canada led development of the prevention and treatment components of the Strategy.

Of course, health encompasses more than physical well-being; it includes mental well-being. In 2007, the Government created the Mental Health Commission of Canada to develop a national approach to improving the quality of life for Canadians and their families living with mental illness. Along with the initial investment of $130 million over 10 years, the Government, through Budget 2008, committed an additional $110 million over five years to fund national research projects related to mental health and homelessness.

Health Canada continues to demonstrate leadership in helping provincial and territorial governments establish wait time guarantees. Through our programs, access to priority treatments such as cancer radiation, cataract surgery, hip and knee replacement, cardiac care, diagnostic care and primary health care will be accelerated in treatment centres across the country.

As part of a government-wide effort, led by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada continues to actively participate, both domestically and internationally, in working to ensure that Canada is well prepared to deal with both avian and pandemic influenza.

As Minister of Health, I am proud of Health Canada's accomplishments in 2007-2008. Through the achievements mentioned here and through our ongoing programs, services and initiatives, we continue to help Canadians maintain and improve their health, while respecting individual choices and circumstances.


The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq

Minister of Health
Government of Canada

Management Representation Statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-2008 Departmental Performance Report for Health Canada.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-2008 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • It is based on the Department's Strategic Outcomes and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved numbers from the Estimates and the Public Accounts of Canada.


Morris Rosenberg

Deputy Minister

Summary Information

About Health Canada

Health Canada was established to help the people of Canada maintain and improve their health. We are also committed to improving the lives of all Canadians and making this country's population among the healthiest in the world as measured by longevity, lifestyle and effective use of the public health care system.

Health Canada develops, implements and enforces regulations, legislation, policies, programs, services and initiatives and works with other federal partners, the provinces and territories to maintain and improve the overall health of Canadians. As administrator of the Canada Health Act, we ensure that the principles of Canada's universal health care are respected, allowing Canadians to be confident in the services they receive from the public health care system. The Minister of Health is also responsible for direct administration of another 18 statutes including the Food and Drugs Act, the Pest Control Products Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.[1]

We provide policy leadership and portfolio coordination among our partners in the Government of Canada's Health Portfolio, each of which produces its own Departmental Performance Report:

  • Assisted Human Reproduction Canada;
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research;
  • Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission;
  • Patented Medicine Prices Review Board;
  • Public Health Agency of Canada.

Our Objectives

By working with others in a manner that fosters the trust of Canadians, Health Canada strives to:

  • prevent and reduce risks to individual health and the overall environment and enhance the sustainability, innovation and integration of the health system;
  • promote healthier lifestyles through sustained health protection and regulations;
  • ensure high quality health services that are efficient and accessible;
  • integrate renewal of the health care system with longer term plans in areas of prevention, health promotion and protection;
  • reduce health inequalities in Canadian society; and
  • provide health information to help Canadians make informed decisions.

Our Roles

Health Canada employees play key roles in promoting, protecting and improving the health of Canadians - roles that assist other stakeholders working towards the same goals. Our Department has roles that include conducting leading-edge science, developing policies and managing and delivering programs and services across Canada as indicated on the accompanying map.  We have broad regulatory responsibilities for oversight of health products, food, consumer products and pesticides, as well as responsibility for monitoring the Canada Health Act.  This Department develops and shares knowledge to educate Canadians about health topics and issues, enabling citizens to understand our health system and gain awareness of ways to improve their own health and that of their families and communities.  Health Canada works with health system stakeholders and individual Canadians to build cooperative links to address issues of common concern.  In all these efforts, we are committed to transparent decision-making.

Health Canada at Work across the Country

Health Canada at Work across the Country

Reporting Structure

Consistent with the direction of the Treasury Board of Canada, this Departmental Performance Report and accompanying financial tables are presented using the Health Canada Program Activity Architecture (PAA) in place in 2007-2008.  The PAA provides a framework for departments and agencies to organize program activities and present information on accomplishments against its plans and priorities.  The Health Canada PAA has four Strategic Outcomes and five Program Activities. Section II provides details on departmental performance under each of our Strategic Outcomes and Program Activities.

Health Canada Program Activity Architecture (PAA)

Strengthened Knowledge Base to Address Health and Health Care Priorities

Access to Safe and Effective Health Products and Food and Information on Healthy Choices

Reduced Health and Environmental Risks From Products and Substances, and Safer Living and Working Environments

Better Health Outcomes and Reduction of Health Inequalities Between First Nations and Inuit and Other Canadians

Health Policy Planning and Information
Health Products and Food
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety
First Nations and Inuit Health
Health Care Policy
Pre-market Regulatory Evaluation and Process Improvement
Workplace Health and Public Safety
First Nations and Inuit Community Health Programs
Intergovernmental Affairs
Information, Education and Outreach on Health Products, Food and Nutrition
Safe Environments
First Nations and Inuit Health Protection
Strategic Health Policy
Monitoring Safety and Therapeutic Effectiveness and Risk Management
Product Safety
First Nations and Inuit Primary Health Care
International Affairs
Transparency, Public Accountability and Stakeholder Relationships
Tobacco Control
Non-insured Health Benefits (NIHB)
Women's Health
Drug Strategy and Controlled Substances
Governance and Infrastructure Support to First Nations and Inuit Health System
Applied Research Dissemination and Accountability
Pest Control Product Regulation
Nursing
New Pest Control Product Registration and Decision Making
Official Language Minority Community Development
Registered Pest Control Product Evaluation and Decision Making
Compliance
Pesticide Risk Reduction
Regulatory Improvement

H4 Strategic Outcomes, H5 Program Activities, Program Sub-Activities

Complementing Health Canada's PAA are departmental medium-term corporate priorities. They encourage integrated attention to key health and management issues that have impacts across multiple strategic outcomes.  The priorities also reflect management improvement commitments beyond the scope of the PAA.  Links between specific corporate priorities and strategic outcomes are set out in the Summary of Performance table later in this Section.  Our corporate priorities for 2007-2008 were: 

  1. Contributing to the improvement of the health of Canadians
  2. Reducing the risks to the health of the people of Canada
  3. Working with others to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the publicly-funded health care system
  4. Strengthening accountability to Parliament and the public

Financial Resources ($ millions)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

3,036.7

4,400.9

4,286.0


* Health Canada's expenditures were about $1 billion more than originally planned, due primarily to settlement of compensation payments to individuals infected with the Hepatitis C virus through the Canadian blood supply before 1986 and after 1990.


Human Resources (full-time equivalents)

Planned

Actual

Difference

8,825

8,899

74


Operating Environment and Context

Health and safety is a priority of the Government of Canada and Health Canada is the focal point for much of the federal health agenda.  Health Canada continued to work closely with Health Portfolio partners and with other federal departments on issues of shared responsibility, such as environmental health, food safety, and improvements to regulatory approaches. Health Canada also collaborated with other partners, including provincial and territorial governments, First Nations and Inuit organizations and communities, professional associations, consumer groups, universities and research institutes, international organizations and volunteers.

Our Department uses a mix of policy development and program delivery activities to carry out our responsibilities. We also use grant and contribution programs to fund partners in the health sector and at the community level to pursue goals such as health system modernization and combating abuse of illicit drugs and controlled substances. To support greater control over their health services, Health Canada also continues to transfer program and service funding and responsibilities to First Nations and Inuit.

The Department's operating environment was much as projected in our Report on Plans and Priorities.  However, two notable examples demonstrate how the Government and our Department responded to emerging situations. 

A number of incidents raised concerns that resulted in recalls of food, health and consumer products. Those situations highlighted gaps in a regulatory framework for protection initially established in the 1950s. It was clear to the Government and Health Canada that the framework did not work as well as needed in a time when Canadians have access to many new products generated by domestic and international producers working through complex supply chains.  This changed marketplace, along with the ever increasing pace of innovation, led to prompt action to begin modernizing the regulatory framework for food, health and consumer product safety in order to strengthen health protection for Canadians.

Research has shown that some substances in the environment may pose health risks such as cancers, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, as well as cardiovascular disease and developmental disorders that may be particularly pronounced for children and for people living in rural and remote areas. The continuing commitment of our Department to conduct research on these substances and to draw on research from other sources led to quick action to prohibit substances such as Bisphenol A which is used in baby bottles.

Summary of Performance in Relation to Departmental Strategic Outcomes and Priorities

Strategic Outcome #1: Strengthened knowledge base to address health and health care priorities

Aligned to Health Canada corporate priorities: 1) improving the health of Canadians; 3) strengthening the health care system; and 4) accountability.


Program Activity #1: Health Policy, Planning and Information - 2007 - 2008 ($ millions)

Planned Spending

Actual Spending

263.7

1,357.2

Variance due to settlement of compensation payment for individuals infected with the Hepatitis C virus

Expected Results

Performance Status

 

Strengthened health system through specific strategies and initiatives and knowledge development and transfer

Successfully Met.  Key commitments met include:

Led the establishment of Patient Wait Times Guarantees with provinces and territories.

Continued to implement the Pan-Canadian Health Human Resources Strategy.

Facilitated establishment and operations of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. 

Participated in national and international pandemic preparedness efforts.

Began $1 billion in compensation payments to individuals infected with Hepatitis C before 1986 and after 1990.

Supported improved access to health services for members of official language minority communities.

Challenges and lessons learned

Federal focus in the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy is on F/P/T collaborative work to enhance system efficiency, while partners continue to focus on securing new federal funding for drug coverage.

Introduction of new technologies, as well as the complexity of ethical, moral, cultural and legal issues, delayed the Assisted Human Reproduction regulations.

Evaluation of the Health Care Strategies and Policy Contribution Program called for a better performance measurement system and improved strategic governance for better, more widely-shared results


Strategic Outcome #2: Access to safe and effective health products and food and information for healthy choices

Aligned to Health Canada corporate priorities: 1) improving the health of Canadians; 2) reducing risks; and 4) accountability.


Program Activity #2: Health Products and Food - 2007 - 2008 ($ millions)

Planned Spending

Actual Spending

257.4

307.9

Expected Results

Performance Status

 

Access to safe and effective health products and food

 

Successfully Met.  Key commitments met include:

Developed Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, as announced in December 2007, to modernize regulatory framework and programming in order to strengthen food, health, and consumer product safety.

Exceeded or achieved performance standard targets for new pharmaceutical, generic drug and biologic submissions. 

Excellent progress made in eliminating the backlog in veterinary drug submissions.

Conducted over 900 inspections compared to over 700 last year.

Access to information for healthy choices

Launched the first Food Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Mtis.

Canada's Food Guide translated into 10 languages.

More than 180 advisories, warnings and recalls issued to health professionals and the public related to drugs, health products, food and nutrition.

High levels of satisfaction expressed among the public and health professionals with departmental information.

Challenges and lessons learned

Review performance for several classes of medical device applications fell below previous year levels due to increased number and complexity of submissions.

Review backlogs for natural health products (NHP) continued. Progress expected with 2008 Government investment of $82.5 million over five years.

Fewer clinical trial inspections conducted than planned.

Evaluations identified areas for action, for example, the Natural Health Products Research program would benefit from more communications, collaboration, coordination and knowledge transfer.


Strategic Outcome #3: Reduced health and environmental risks from products and substances, and safer living and working environments

Aligned to Health Canada corporate priorities: 1) improving the health of Canadians; 2) reducing risks; and 4) accountability.


Program Activity #3a: Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety - 2007 - 2008 ($ millions)

Planned Spending

Actual Spending

333.8

334.4

Expected Results

Performance Status

 

Reduced health and safety risks associated with tobacco consumption and the abuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances

Successfully Met.  Key commitments met include:

Progress made in implementing National Anti-Drug Strategy.

Downward smoking trend continued, with more adult Canadians quitting smoking and reduced smoking prevalence among Canadian youth (15-17).

Reduced risks to health and safety, and improved protection against harm associated with workplace and environmental hazards and consumer products (including cosmetics)

Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) and Clean Air Agenda (CAA) progressed in partnership with Environment Canada.

As part of the CMP "Challenge" initiative, 200 substances of highest priority identified, leading to assessments and management plans for substances such as Bisphenol A in baby bottles.

Under the CAA, assessments conducted of health risks from indoor and outdoor pollution sources and expansion of monitoring and information tools related to health and the environment.

Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan includes a proposed Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.

Challenges and lessons learned

Recruitment and retention of scientific and public health professionals is a challenge being addressed through a people management plan and new staffing processes.

An integrated management framework responds to Auditor General calls for improved planning and stewardship of resources, monitoring and reporting.



Program Activity #3b: Pest Control Product Regulation - 2007 - 2008 ($ millions)

Planned Spending

Actual Spending

50.9

58.9

Expected Results

Performance Status

Access to safer pesticides

Successfully Met.  Key commitments met include:

Most new registered pesticide active ingredients were reduced-risk, supported by greater use of collaborative reviews with pest control regulators in other countries.

Responsiveness to needs of growers and users for pest control products available to global competitors.

Improved transparency and knowledge dissemination

Seven regulatory proposal, directions or discussion documents published for consultation.

Challenges and lessons learned

Performance for the registration of new pesticide active ingredients was below targets as a result of increased workload - was addressed with more resources and new hiring


Strategic Outcome #4: Better health outcomes and reduction of health inequalities between First Nations and Inuit and other Canadians

Aligned to Health Canada corporate priorities: 1) improving the health of Canadians; 2) reducing risks; 3) strengthening the health care system; and 4) accountability.


Program Activity #4: First Nations and Inuit Health - 2007 - 2008 ($ millions)

Planned Spending

Actual Spending

2,130.9

2,227.6

Expected Results

Performance Status

 

Improve health outcomes by ensuring the availability of, and access to, quality health services, and supporting greater control of the health system by First Nations and Inuit

 

 

Successfully Met.  Key commitments met include:

Continued to provide a range of health services as well as Non-Insured Health Benefits.

Continued to attract new nursing graduates to reduce vacant on-reserve nursing positions.

Increased efforts to attract Aboriginal youth to health occupations.

Continued pilot projects for diabetes and for prenatal care, to test wait times improvements for First Nations on-reserve.

Prepared a mental wellness strategic action plan and implemented community-based suicide prevention projects.

Regional pandemic influenza plans established to support First Nations communities in local preparedness planning.

Continued improvement in community drinking water monitoring and advisories.

Innovative tripartite health governance approach launched in British Columbia.

Challenges and lessons learned

 

Ongoing systemic challenges continued e.g. health human resource shortages and costs of serving a rapidly growing population with a higher rate of injuries and disease, living largely in remote and rural areas.

Pilot efforts to integrate First Nations health systems with provincial ones showed that successful integration has to be tailored to reflect individual First Nations circumstances.


Progress by Strategic Outcomes for 2007-2008

Strategic Outcome #1: Strengthened knowledge base to address health and health-care priorities

Including the key areas of focus for 2007-2008:  Supporting the health care system by advancing Patient Wait Times Guarantees and global health security

Canadians expect to have access to their public health care system when they need it.  Through clear federal leadership and facilitated by more than $600 million in funding from the Government of Canada, an agreement was reached with all provincial and territorial governments to establish a Patient Wait Times Guarantee in at least one of the priority clinical areas (cancer treatment, heart procedures, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight restoration). 

The federal government is acting as a catalyst on this issue. Through an investment of $30 million over three years, it is supporting 10 pilot projects in eight provinces and territories to test and evaluate innovative approaches to establishing guarantees and options for alternate care (recourse) when time frames have been exceeded. These projects are advancing knowledge and best practices for reduction and better management of wait times.  In addition, the Government provided $400 million to Canada Health Infoway in 2007 to improve access to health care through innovative application of information and communication technologies. 

Canada faces major health threats from avian and pandemic influenza.  We continued to participate in the government-wide effort that is supported by $1 billion to ensure Canada is well prepared to deal with both threats.  Our Department supported the Avian and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Interdepartmental Governance Agreement to address horizontal issues and initiatives.  We helped facilitate global collaboration in managing threats posed by pandemic influenza and worked with communities and partners to support on-reserve First Nations in development, testing and integration of their pandemic influenza plans.

Another contribution to progress on wait times is improved planning and management of health human resources.  In collaboration with partners, we supported initiatives that are addressing significant issues such as integration of internationally-educated health professionals into Canada's health system.

 Mental health issues have broad social and economic impacts on Canadians. In 2007, the Government created the Mental Health Commission of Canada, with a commitment of $130 million over 10 years, to serve as the focal point for a national approach to improve the quality of life for Canadians and their families dealing with mental illness. The Government, through Budget 2008, further committed $110 million to national research projects related to mental health and homelessness.

Our Department continued to work with official language minority communities to help them address their particular health service priorities and to build community networking.  Much of this centred on support for training in French-language universities and college health professional programs outside of Quebec, and official languages training for health care workers in Quebec.  These efforts were enhanced with an additional $4.5 million announced for initiatives during 2007-2008.

Strategic Outcome #2: Access to safe and effective health products and food and information for healthy choices

Including the key area of focus for 2007-2008:  Protecting the health of Canadians with a focus on regulatory renewal and natural health products

 The Government is modernizing Canada's regulatory framework and programming for food, health and consumer products to strengthen protection of Canadians' health and safety in today's complex, expanding global marketplace.  The focal point of that work is the commitment of $490 million over five years to the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, announced by the Prime Minister in December 2007.  Under the Action Plan, the Government intends to: provide better product information to consumers and guidance to industries to prevent harm; enhance monitoring in targeted areas throughout a product's life cycle to ensure safety; and introduce new regulatory authorities to enable faster action to protect the public.  A modernized regulatory framework under the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan will also ease the burden on industry so it can focus on bringing safe and effective health and consumer products to the market.

Implementation of the Action Plan has begun.  A new integrated website, Healthy Canadians, combining recall information from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, gives Canadians one-stop access to information on all recalled food, health and consumer products.  Our Department supported the process leading to the introduction of two bills in the House of Commons that propose to modernize the regulatory framework to strengthen food and consumer safety: Bill C-51 would amend the Food and Drugs Act; and Bill C-52 would create a Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.

Health Canada continued its effort to renew the regulatory framework and programming for natural health products, with a view to reducing the application review backlog and further enhancing product safety.  We expect more progress this year and beyond, with the 2008 Government investment of $82.5 million over five years.

Close to 14 million copies of the revised Canada's Food Guide for Healthy Eating were distributed.  Health Canada also offered a new "My Food Guide" interactive tool through the Food Guide website that enables Canadians to obtain personalized food and nutrition guidance.    The website received over three million visits; over 14 million pages have been viewed; and 585,000 "My Food Guides" have been created.

Health Canada also developed and launched the first Food Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Mtis.  In order to assist new immigrants in making healthy food choices, Canada's Food Guide was translated into 10 languages.

Beyond these initiatives, we continued to improve the timeliness of our regulatory decision-making related to submissions for approval of new pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary drugs and other products.  We exceeded or achieved targets in most of these areas, while addressing challenges that remain in others.

Strategic Outcome #3a: Reduced health and environmental risks from health products and substances, and safer living and working environments

Including the key areas of focus for 2007-2008:  Advancing health and environmental initiatives; Protecting the health of Canadians through regulatory renewal and implementing the National Anti-Drug Strategy

 Regulatory renewal activities under the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, outlined under Strategic Outcome #2 above, include regulatory renewal and program enhancements to strengthen consumer product safety, which fall under Strategic Outcome #3a).

The Chemicals Management Plan and its federal investment of $300 million, has positioned Canada as a global leader in safe management of chemical substances and products.  We continued to collaborate with Environment Canada to advance implementation. Our focus was primarily on reassessing chemicals introduced to the Canadian marketplace in years past, based on the most current knowledge about health risks.  This has led to action to manage the risks associated with substances confirmed to be harmful to human health or the environment, such as the chemical Bisphenol A, when it is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate baby bottles.  Action is also pending on an additional 193 chemicals that are potentially harmful.

Our Department advanced the Government's Clean Air Agenda, including assessment of health risks from indoor and outdoor air pollution sources. We also completed the indoor air quality guideline for ozone and carbon monoxide, developed a priority list of indoor air contaminants, contributed to development of ambient air regulations, and performed an initial health economic analysis of the benefits of proposed regulations.

An example of this work is the Air Quality Health Index initiative, through which people in Toronto and 14 communities in British Columbia started to receive a daily measure of air quality, enabling them to make informed decisions about their exposure to air pollution and its potentially harmful effects.  More Canadians will benefit from the initiative over time. 

The National Anti-Drug Strategy, announced in 2007, is a collaborative effort involving Health Canada, the Department of Justice, and Public Safety Canada.  The Government has invested $300 million over five years in the initiative, focusing on preventing illicit drug use, treating Canadians with illicit drug dependencies, and combating production and distribution of illicit drugs.  We led development of the prevention and treatment streams of the Strategy.  Our Department also funded communities and organizations to implement promotion/prevention measures aimed at abuse of illicit drugs and controlled substances, especially among vulnerable populations such as youth and Aboriginal people.

Strategic Outcome #3b: Reduced health and environmental risks from health products and substances, and safer living and working environments

In addition to our ongoing implementation of the new Pest Control Products Act, the first global joint review for registration of new pesticides was completed in collaboration with the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Our participation in this kind of international regulatory cooperative activity provides Canadian growers with access to new pesticides at the same time as their global competitors.  Our use of other cooperative mechanisms such as joint review, work sharing and effective utilization of foreign evaluations has enabled Canadian users to gain timely access to new, reduced-risk products.  International collaboration resulted in registration of three new pesticide active ingredients.

An ongoing concern for Canadian pest control product users is the number of products available in the United States and elsewhere with likely uses that are too limited in Canada to encourage manufacturers to seek Canadian registration for "minor uses."  To address this proactively, we carried out work that led to registration of 758 new minor uses. We are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory agencies to expand the use of joint reviews and work sharing to address minor uses further.

Strategic Outcome #4: Better health outcomes and reduction of health inequalities between First Nations and Inuit and other Canadians

Including the key area of focus for 2007-2008: Improving the health of specific populations

Much of our work was ongoing delivery of services such as primary care and community/home care, as well as programs focused on enhancing maternal and child health, mental wellness, suicide prevention, chronic disease and injury prevention, communicable disease readiness and environmental health.  We also continued to provide Non-Insured Health Benefits to approximately 800,000 eligible First Nations and Inuit covering medically necessary health-related goods and services not provided through private or provincial/territorial health insurance plans.

We also pursued priorities designed to help improve First Nations and Inuit health outcomes and health services.  Health Canada partnered with provinces, territories, Aboriginal communities, and other federal departments to ensure availability of and access to quality health care for First Nations and Inuit.  We continued implementation of 20 pilot projects to explore ways to reduce patient wait times for prenatal and diabetes care.  We also continued initiatives that are improving our ability to attract and retain employees who provide front-line health services and that are encouraging Aboriginal people to pursue health careers.

The Government has been implementing drinking water quality standards for First Nations water systems. Since 2006, the number of high-risk water systems in First Nations communities has been reduced by half.  We also began planning how best to enhance this progress as a result of the federal investment of an additional $330 million in water and wastewater management beginning in 2008-2009.

Because of our responsibility for health services to First Nations on-reserve, we developed regional approaches designed to support local planning for avian and pandemic influenza that will align with the planning for their neighbouring communities, health regions and provinces.

We implemented a visionary and strategic plan that will not only renew the First Nations and Inuit health system, but will completely change the way First Nations and Inuit health services are delivered, through innovative partnerships, integration with provincial health systems and, most importantly, increased ownership for First Nations and Inuit communities. Canada's first Tripartite First Nations Health Plan was signed in 2007 between the Governments of Canada and British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council.  Under the Plan, the partners are working towards a new governance structure that will enhance First Nations involvement in delivery of health services, and promote better integration and coordination of federally and provincially-funded health services.  We also explored the possibility of similar tripartite agreements with other provincial partners and First Nations, recognizing that successful agreements have to reflect the diverse situations of First Nations across Canada.

Progress on Departmental Management Priorities

Activities under Health Canada's Corporate Priority 4, "Strengthening accountability to Parliament and the public", took place across all program activities set out in the Program Activity Architecture.  The activities centre on departmental responses to government-wide initiatives such as the Federal Accountability Act, the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA), the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) and strengthened resource management and performance measurement/reporting in relation to regulatory programs.

Treasury Board Secretariat conducted an assessment of Health Canada's Management Accountability Framework during 2007.  As a reflection of activities undertaken to strengthen management practices, the resulting MAF ratings indicated that we achieved considerable improvements over previous years.

In her November 2006 Annual Report (Chapter 8), the Auditor General made recommendations on allocating funds to regulatory programs. We made significant progress to address those recommendations through a management action plan centred on branch-level Comprehensive Reviews to benchmark regulatory program performance and resource requirements and a corporate Financial Management Control Framework. We continued to work on the Comprehensive Reviews for all regulatory programs leading to establishment of new performance measurement frameworks.  We also accelerated development and implementation of the Financial Management and Control Framework, with notable progress in budget management, financial management accountability, and the state of readiness for audited financial statements, scheduled for 2008-2009. 

Health Canada continued to support the Government's Response to the Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Grant and Contribution Programs. The Health Portfolio Action Plan was established and identifies initiatives that address recommendations of the Report. These include a risk management framework for grant and contribution program activities, an automated grant and contribution management system, a supporting Intranet site and adoption of simplified administrative procedures.

The Department also enhanced contract management by ensuring that solid governance structures and administrative processes are in place. As well, our Department implemented Phase 1 of an automated Contract Requisition and Reporting System to enhance contract administration controls.

We responded to the government-wide commitment to integrate human resources and business planning with a plan that we published in March 2008. This was a first step toward full integration of human resources, strategic and operational planning processes by 2009-2010 and a longer term commitment to a department-wide integrated planning framework.

Consistent with Treasury Board's Management, Resources and Results Structure (MRRS) initiative, our Department revised its Program Activity Architecture (PAA), defined the Performance Measurement Frameworks and Governance Structure for the entire PAA, and began the systematic creation, capture and use of MRRS information.  Furthermore, we have successfully developed a set of common results statements and indicators for our regulatory branches and have aligned, where possible, the phrasing of branch results statements and indicators in the MRRS with this wording.

The Department continued to focus on developing guidelines and tools to improve the quality and results focus of evaluations, including piloting the "value for money" tool developed by Treasury Board Secretariat. We also enhanced our review of performance measurement and evaluation strategies outlined in Treasury Board submissions and Memoranda to Cabinet.