Since 1921, Ophea has been working to support the health and learning of children and youth in Ontario. Ophea is a not-for-profit organization led by the vision that all kids value and enjoy the lifelong benefits of healthy, active living. Below is an overview of previous Ophea advocacy efforts.
Our Right to Learn
2010 - January 2015 - From April 2010 through January 2015, Ophea led a coalition of over 50 organizations calling on the government of Ontario to finalize, release, and support the implementation of the Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum (grades 1 – 12). On February 23, 2015 the Ontario Government released the 2015 Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum for Elementary and Secondary. H&PE is a core subject taught in Ontario schools with the aim of fostering student health and well-being. The H&PE curriculum focuses on skills and strategies that can be transferred from the context of the classroom to healthy, active living outside of school – assisting Ontario’s kids in reaching their full potential while at the same time improving their health throughout their lives.
Ophea developed a number of advocacy materials to support the release of the curriculum including:
Ophea key messages document
Ophea has designed a #VoteActive tool to help you start conversations and spark debate about the importance of physical activity and to find out what candidates plan to do about it. You, as a constituent, have the power to make physical activity a focus in this election. Does it matter to you? It should!
How to use this tool:
- Stick it: Print it off and attach it to your front door or window so that when a candidate comes by you have the questions to ask right at your fingertips.
- Grab it: Take it with you to a community debate or function to help get the conversation going with candidates and/or community members (stick it back up afterwards!).
- Share it: Use it as a starting point for your online or written communications with your candidates. Use #VoteActive to connect your thoughts with like-minded people on social media.
OCDPA Healthiest Province Campaign
May - June 2014 - Ophea along with over 20 other health-related not-for-profit organizations launched the Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention's Make Ontario the Healthiest Province campaign which aimed to ensure that chronic disease prevention and health promotion were both part of the 2014 provincial elections discourse. Through an advoacy toolkit, social media campaign and government meetings, the OCDPA urged all political parties during the June 12, 2014 provincial election to commit to making Ontario the healthiest province through a sustained, comprehensive and multi-faceted strategy that will include strategic investments, effective policies, environmental supports, and public education to effect broad societal changes in health behaviours. To view resources and materials from this campaign, please visit https://www.ocdpa.ca/publications/healthiest-province-2014-advocacy-toolkit. This campaign built on the previous 2011 Healthiest Province campaign.
Better health is worth 0.5%
January – March 2012 - Better health is worth 0.5% was the message that Ophea, in collaboration with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society and 24 other organizations from the Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance, sent to the Ontario government in an effort to ensure that at least 0.5% of the provincial budget went to health promotion. Through the repurposed Healthiest Province website, Ontario residents were provided with information on chronic disease prevention (CDP) and encouraged to make their voices heard and tell the government to act now to make Ontario the healthiest province by committing at least 0.5% (up from 0.35%) of the provincial budget towards CDP. The website reached over 15,000 letters/shares and meetings were hosted with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Deputy Minister Saad Rafi and Assistant Deputy Minister Kate Manson-Smith, policy makers with the Ministry of Finance, the NDP Health Critic France Gélinas, the Conservation Health Critic Elizabeth Witmer, and many other MPPs.
OCDPA Healthiest Province Campaign
September - October 2011 - In the months leading up to the October 6, 2011 Ontario provincial election, Ophea as part of the OCDPA launched the Healthiest Province campaign to call on the government to take action and commit to making Ontario a healthier province by addressing risk factors related to chronic disease. The goal was to create significant momentum to position this as an important issue in the October 2011 provincial election. The campaign centered on the 2009 report What Makes a Healthy Province from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), a benchmark study of jurisdictions in Canada and around the world with the highest levels of health and the best health behaviours. The study highlighted British Colombia as the leading jurisdiction in Canada in terms of population health and health behaviours and the report provided tangible targets for the campaign. Ophea leveraged the key messaging of the campaign to advocate for the release of the rivised Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum which had the opportunity to be the most significant health promotion mechanism that this province has ever seen.
After School Collaborative Initiative
May 2011 - Ophea has been actively working as a member of the After School Collaborative Initiative. This initiative is a result of support from the Public Health Agency of Canada, in conjunction with Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport. Seven organizations (Boys and Girls Clubs Canada – Central Region, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, Evidence (First Work), Ontario Public Health Association, Ophea, Parks and Recreation Ontario, YMCA Ontario) are working to enhance the quality of Ontario’s after-school programs. Read the Collaborative's response to the 2011 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.
Health and Physical Education (H&PE) is the Key to Making Ontario the Healthiest Province in Canada
November 2010 - Health and Physical Education (H&PE) is the Key to Making Ontario the Healthiest Province in Canada. This advocacy statement was developed with funding support from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and reinforces Ophea's position that H&PE is the fastest, least expensive and most effective way to make Ontario the healthiest province. It includes research evidence and recommendations to support this position. Read the Statement.
Quality H&PE Curriculum
April 2010 - Ophea came out in full support of the 2010 H&PE Curriculum when it was released in January 2010, and continued this support when the Ontario government withdrew the curriculum due to controversy regarding the Human Development and Sexual Health topic in April 2010. Ophea developed a Statement of Support for the H&PE Curriculum, which was signed onto by over 770 partners and stakeholders.
The H&PE Curriculum was reinstated with the exception of the Human Development and Sexual Health topic, which was replaced by the Growth and Development content from the 1998 curriculum, until further consultations could be held. Ophea then disseminated an editorial statement to emphasize support for the curriculum as a holistic and integrated policy.
Healthy Schools. Healthy Communities. A Submission to the Government of Ontario
February 2010 - Ophea submitted considerations for the provincial budget to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Our recommendation was that the provincial government provide ongoing funding support for the implementation of the many healthy schools and communities policies that they have developed in recent years. Read our submission.
Ministry of Education Working Group on the Elementary Curriculum Supporting Learning and Teaching in Ontario’s Elementary Schools: Discussion Paper for a Province Wide Consultation
November 2009 -The Ministry of Education, in consultation with the Curriculum Council, appointed a working group to examine the elementary curriculum in general and to respond in particular to concerns that the curriculum is “overcrowded”. Educators and stakeholder groups were invited to provide input on this issue by completing an online survey. Read Ophea's response.
Healthy Active Schools and Communities in Ontario: Contributing to the Government’s Aim of Getting Results for Ontario Families
January 2009 - Ophea submitted considerations for the provincial budget to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Our recommendations included using integrated approaches to address health-related issues; supporting the implementation of the revised curriculum for H&PE in the context of a safe and healthy school; and a continued commitment to infrastructure, with specific attention placed on sustaining and enhancing school and community infrastructure to support health and learning opportunities for children, youth and their families. Read Ophea’s Pre-Budget Submission.
Healthy Schools Matter: a discussion paper on making healthy schools a reality in Ontario schools.
May 2008 - Prepared by Ophea (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association), OASPHE (Ontario Association for the Supervision of Physical and Health Education) and the OHSC (Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition). Read the Healthy Schools Matter Discussion Paper.