Welcome to HC Link's blog! Our blog will provide you with useful information on healthy community topics, news, and resources, as well as information on HC Link’s events, activities, and resources. Our bloggers include HC Link staff and consultants, as well as our partnering organizations, clients, and experts in the health promotion field.

Please note: opinions in posts are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of HC Link or our funder.

We look forward to engaging in thought-provoking conversation with you!

To view past blogs, please click on the home icon below left.

Past Webinar: So What's the Big Deal about Alcohol?


So What's the Big Deal about Alcohol? An Introduction to Effective Community Alcohol Policy Development

Tuesday 29 November 2011, 10:00 - 11:00

This introductory webinar will review prevalence rates, incidence rates, harms and costs associated with alcohol in Ontario. The importance of a comprehensive, policy-led approach to community alcohol problems will be outlined. Internationally recognized alcohol policy levers will be discussed and how these relate to local community-based or public health initiatives throughout Ontario. A case study will be presented to illustrate local alcohol policy development, from committee development to policy evaluation.

Benjamin Rempel is the Program Manager of the Alcohol Policy Network, Ontario Public Health Association. Currently, his main areas of work consists of research and analysis on the effectiveness of alcohol policies in Ontario, with some of his work published in academic journals. Benjamin is currently completing a Masters in Public Health from the University of Waterloo.

This event is now over. The slide deck is available for download.

2936 Hits

Linking for Healthy Communities Wrap-Up


By Andrea Bodkin

Well, we’ve just finished HC Link’s first conference, “Linking For Healthy Communities: Building from within”. It was a fabulous two day event, held at the BMO Institute for Learning, attended by more than 130 participants, staff and speakers.

Our keynote speaker was John Ott, co-author of The Power of Collective Wisdom and the trap of collective folly. Not only was John our keynote, he also worked extensively with the planning committee to shape the event as well as with the many speakers of the breakout sessions to ensure synergy in themes. John also provided many opportunities for reflection throughout the two days, which gave participants a chance to really take in and process what we were hearing.

After attending such an event, I always like to spend some time absorbing what I heard and learned. I thought I might share these thoughts with you. In fact, one of the first things that John said to us on Tuesday morning is that the most important moment of the conference is Thursday at 8 am. After the conference is all over: how will you carry the work forward? So the following is my attempt to carry what I learned forward. And yes, at time of writing it is 8:15 Thursday morning!


Continue reading
4471 Hits

The Use of Behaviour Change Concepts to Move Policy Forward

By Kim Bergeron, HC Link Consultant

On Friday October 21, 2011 24 participants from public health, municipal services, crime prevention, training and non-government organizations from across Central East Ontario came together to learn about the use of behaviour change concepts to move policy forward.

Traditionally, behaviour change concepts such as attitudes, beliefs, subjective norms, have been used to move individuals towards healthier lifestyle choices such as encouraging individuals to eat more fruit and vegetables or quit smoking by understanding their attitudes or beliefs about their food or smoking choices and consumption.

This workshop took a different twist on the use of behaviour change concepts by applying them to understand the behaviours of community decision-makers such as elected officials, executive directors or other community leaders whom participants want to support healthy community policies. Therefore, the focus was for participants to understand community decision-makers motivation, intentions and behaviours in order to develop strategies to change their behaviours so that they support healthy community policies such as access to recreation, access to healthy foods etc.

As the facilitator, I highlighted three traditional health behaviour change theories: transtheortical model, social cognitive theory and theory of planned behaviour and showed how concepts within these theories can be applied to community decision-makers to move policy forward. The focus was on identifying the desirable behaviours of community decision-makers and then understanding how to influence these behaviours to elicit supportive action. For example, when trying to influence elected officials to support a policy change, an elected official must make the motion for the policy and other elected officials must support the motion. Therefore, the types of behaviours of interest are ‘making the motion’ and ‘supporting the motion’.  

Through this interactive workshop, policy work was reframed and presented as ‘changing the status quo’ and participants were challenged to apply the information presented by answering questions on worksheets and engaging in group discussions.

Two examples of the types of group discussions are:

1.    Moving Forward Healthy Food and Physical Activity Policies in Regional Child Care Centres
The community decision-makers were Regional Child Care Providers (Executive Directors and Staff). The plan was to measure their knowledge and awareness of their role in providing healthy food and physical activity environments within their centres. The idea was to develop a scenario that models child care centres that have healthy food and physical activity policies and develop questions that measure if they felt that as regional child care providers they have a role to create this type of environment within their centres.   

2.    Moving Forward Healthy Mobile Food Vendor Policy
The issue was the provision of healthy food choices from mobile food vendors. The community decision-maker to be targeted was elected officials who set out the bylaws for mobile food vendors. The concept to be measured was their attitudes to changing by-laws to allow mobile healthy food vendor licenses.

At the end of the workshop, participants shared some ‘ah-ha’ moments that included: human behaviour is complex; time needs to be invested to ‘break it down’ behaviours in order to understand how to influence those making the decisions; and developing relationships is key when doing this type of work not only with community partners, but with those you are trying to influence.

 This workshop is now over. Slides of the workshop are available.

4402 Hits

Past workshop: The Use of Behaviour Change Concepts to Move Policy Forward


HC Link in partnership with Healthyork, present:

The Use of Behaviour Change Concepts to Move Policy Forward

Presented by Kim Bergeron, Healthy Communities Consortium Consultant

October, 21, 2011
9:30am to 12:30pm
Maple Community Centre
10190 Keele Street
Maple, Ontario L6A 1R7

This workshop will focus on identifying ways to use behaviour change concepts such as attitudes, values, beliefs and social norms to influence community decision-makers (i.e., elected officials, civil servants). A number of behaviour change theories such as Transtheortical Model, Social Cognitive Theory and Theory of Planned Behaviour will be highlighted to show how their concepts can be used to influence and move forward policy options related to creating healthy communities. This workshop builds on the ‘Beyond Policy Development to Policy Uptake’ resource.It will enable you to:

  • Understand behaviour change concepts and how they can be used to influence community decision-makers;
  • Engage in discussion with other’s who are working to create healthy communities through policy; and
  • Source some relevant resources.

This learning opportunity will be of interest to those who want to influence community decision-makers to create healthy communities where people work, learn, live and play

This session is now over. Write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to inquire about a repeat.

2853 Hits

Past webinar: Mental Health Promotion in Action: Reflections from Northern Ontario

September 26, 2011
12:00-2:00pm (CDT)/1:00-3:00 pm (EDT)

This webinar, presented by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), will profile Strengthening Families for the Future (SFF), a best practice mental health promotion program for families with children (7 -11), who may be at risk for substance use problems, depression, violence, delinquency and school failure. The program is specifically designed to reduce risk factors, build individual resiliency, and enhance family protective factors. Program implementation considerations, tools and relevant materials will be highlighted.

This will be followed by a panel discussion that will explore integrating and coordinating mental health promotion programming in Northern/remote settings. There will be an opportunity for webinar participants to share their own experiences and knowledge in order to identify programming opportunities, challenges and strategies for integrating mental health promotion programming in Northern Ontario.

Spaces are limited. Preference will be given to residents of Northern Ontario. PowerPoint slides will be made available on the Healthy Communities Consortium website at a later date.

Susan Lalonde Rankin has been active in the area of health promotion and capacity building for the past 20 years. She started her career as a Public Health Nurse, then after completing her Master’s of Health Science in Health Promotion at the University of Toronto, she worked as a Health Promotion Consultant. She also has experience at the provincial level as a Policy Analyst. Since joining CAMH as a Program Consultant in 1994 she has worked in partnership with community agencies on public awareness initiatives, training, policy and program development.

Continue reading
3466 Hits