Leadership Centre

Supporting leadership capacity building within Ontario.

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Enhancing leadership competencies, facilitating thoughtful discussion and examination of leadership issues for public health professionals.

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Community Food Advisor

Promoting safe and nutritious food selection, preparation and storage practices.

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Community Food Advisors work in their community to improve and promote safe and healthy food selection, preparation, and storage practices.

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Your questions about public health answered...all in one place.

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Learn about why public health plays a vital role in ensuring the health of communities across Ontario!

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Ontario Public Health Association

Committed to improving the health of Ontarians.

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Since 1949, OPHA has served as a catalyst for development in the Public Health sector.

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Nutrition Resource Centre

Credible public health nutrition at your fingertips.

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Strengthening the capacity of health professionals across all care settings and in all communities across Ontario.

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Contact Us

The OPHA is a not‐for‐profit member‐based association that provides leadership in advancing public health in Ontario. Our Association represents six public and community health disciplines and our membership represents many public health and community health professionals from Ontario. To learn more about us, our structure, strategic direction, or membership, please visit the following links:

The OPHA provides leadership on issues affecting the public's health and works to strengthen the impact of people who are active in public and community health throughout Ontario. For more information, please visit the following pages:

The OPHA creates and maintains advocacy initiatives with a province-wide perspective. For more information, please visit the following pages:

This section includes the latest news about the OPHA and its programs, upcoming OPHA events, and other news of interest to the public health sector. For more information, please visit the following pages:

The OPHA leads the development of expertise in public and community health through collaboration, consultation and partnerships. Learn more about our Constituent Societies here.

The OPHA leads the development of expertise in public and community health through collaboration, consultation and partnerships. Learn more about our Constituent Societies here.

The OPHA Member’s Lounge is a dedicated space reserved for our OPHA members to store and access important information and exclusive resources. The Lounge includes the following:

What’s in Your Bottle?

What’s in Your Bottle?

What’s in Your Bottle?
August 16, 2016

When we think about cancer and its causes, we often think about smoking, UV rays and chemicals like formaldehyde or arsenic.  All of these substances are considered “class 1 carcinogens”, indicating strong evidence exists to demonstrate that they cause cancer.  What many people find surprising is that alcohol is also a class 1 carcinogen.  In fact, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, only 1/3 of people in Ontario are aware that they can reduce their risk for cancer by reducing the amount of alcohol they drink.

Although alcohol is a socially acceptable part of our lives and is widely available, it is also surprising to know that you don’t have to be a heavy drinker to be at increased risk for cancer.  As little as 1 serving of alcohol per day for women and 2 per day for men can increase the risk for 7 types of cancer.
These include cancer of the:
·         Mouth
·         Neck
·         Throat
·         Liver
·         Female breast
·         Colon
·         Rectum

It doesn’t matter what type of alcohol you drink (beer, wine or liquor), the risk remains the same.  Similarly, cancer risk also increases regardless of whether you binge drink or spread your drinking out over the week. 

The government of Ontario is promoting new measures for making alcohol more available, such as grocery stores and home delivery, aiming to ‘service’ Ontarians better; however, messages about alcohol harms, particularly related to cancer, are rarely shared.  Research shows that increased access to alcohol results in increased alcohol consumption; with increased consumption a significant number of people are unknowingly putting themselves at increased risk for cancer.  According to Cancer Care Ontario, it is estimated that in 2012 nearly 1 million Ontarians reported drinking alcohol at levels that put them at higher risk for cancer. 

It’s safe to say our culture normalizes and even celebrates drinking alcohol as a way of life. Everywhere we go the message to drink alcohol surrounds us, but the messages about the risks, particularly related to cancer, are rarely included.  Tobacco is a well-known carcinogen and smoking rates have dropped dramatically in the past 20 years.  Major legislative action was taken to regulate the sale, marketing and availability of cigarettes, all to protect our health.  The evidence we have supports alcohol as a major risk factor for cancer and many other chronic health conditions.  This is beyond the second-hand effects of drinking and driving, violence and unplanned sexual encounters.  It’s time to carry over lessons from tobacco legislation to safeguard health and lives.