The purpose of the Built Environment Workgroup (BEWG) is to work on issues that affect public health as it is impacted by the built environment. Members of the BEWG represent health units and other stakeholders from across Ontario working in the areas of environmental health, chronic disease and injury prevention. Download a copy of our Terms of Reference.
The built environment refers to anything in our physical environment that is human-created. In addition to things like buildings, parks and neighbourhoods, it includes land use patterns, transportation systems and design features of communities1. Research shows that the built environments in which we live, work and play have a direct impact on our health.
The BEWG seeks to influence provincial policy and contribute to provincial initiatives that will support public health efforts at a local level to improve the built environment.
Current topics of interest for the BEWG include:
Read more about our workgroup here!
Public Health and Planning working together
Social equity and built environment
Linking public health with engineering
The BEWG’s projects evolve from priorities identified by its members. The Workgroup does on-going advocacy, policy development, capacity building and knowledge exchange. Some highlights of this work include:
Participating in consultations for updates to the Provincial Policy Statement
Providing comments on the Coroner’s Review of Cycling Deaths
Providing comments on the Draft Ontario Cycling Strategy
Hosting annual webinars
Meeting with staff from Ministry of Transportation, Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Chief Medical Officer of Health
Building partnerships with groups from a variety of sectors including the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, Public Health Ontario, Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health, Clean Air Partnership
The BEWG also maintains an active listserv. This is a great way to keep in touch with other professionals, get up-to-date information, share resources and pose questions. To join the listserv, go to this link: http://list.web.net/lists/listinfo/builtenviro
Public Health and Planning 101: An Education Module for Professionals.
This project was initiated to identify and address the educational needs of public health and planning professionals working on the built environment in Ontario. A needs assessment (Phase 1) was completed, and education modules (Phase 2) are being developed, with completion anticipated in late 2013. A project website is under construction and will be available shortly.
OPHA will continue to be available to the Ministry to provide policy advice on active transportation and the built environment
The Feasibiltiy of a Comprehenvie Healthy Community Audit project was completed. This inlcuded background research on existing health impact assessment/audit tools to determine the most appropriate strategy for assessing a healthy community. View the final report here.
Increasing Driver Awareness and Knowledge of Safely Sharing the Road with Cyclists.
The goal of this project was to improve teaching resources for new drivers by including more information about how to share the road with cyclists into MTO materials and policy. The group has:
1 Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada, 2006.
Interested In Joining?
If you are interested in joining the Built Environment Workgroup or have questions, contact the co-chairs at:
905-791-7800 ext 8363
York Region Public Health