Save the Canadian Health Network (CHN)

  • by: Friends of CHN
  • target: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Health, Tony Clement



NB: Cette pÚtition est aussi disponible en franšais : www.thepetitionsite.com/1/SauvonsRCS

We the undersigned support the Canadian Health Network. We demand that the funding cut required of the Public Health Agency of Canada be rescinded, that full, stable funding for the Canadian Health Network be restored immediately, and that this valuable Canadian health information resource continue to be developed to become the best of its kind in the world.

The Conservative government plans to shut down the Canadian Health Network by the end of March 2008.

The Canadian Health Network (CHN) is a national, bilingual health promotion service operated by the Public Health Agency of Canada and major health organizations across the country. One of the most comprehensive networks of its kind in the world, CHN offers reliable information on health promotion and disease and injury prevention, to help individuals and communities make healthy choices that improve the quality of their life. As an online collaborative service, CHN operates through a unique and extensive collaboration among community organizations, universities, hospitals, and libraries.

CHN offers links to more than 20,000 web-based, quality-assessed resources in English, French and many other languages; in-depth information on 25 key health topics and population groups; and a fortnightly e-newsletter. It is used currently by approximately 390,000 people per month. Usage has grown steadily since it was created in 1999, and especially rapidly in 2007, increasing by 70 per cent over 2006. Approximately 40 per cent of CHN visitors are health professionals who use CHN resources both personally and with clients; Francophones visit CHN in higher proportions than comparable sites; and 94 per cent of users recommend the site to others.

Here are some other reasons for saving the Canadian Health Network:







  • A majority of Canadians seek health information on the web. A 2004 Canadian Internet Project survey of 3,000 Canadians found that 54% of respondents searched for health information and spent 59 minutes per week on this activity. That rate is continuing to grow each year.





  • The need for a service like CHN was clearly expressed in the Blueprint and Tactical Plan for a Pan-Canadian Health Infostructure, published on the Health Canada website in December 2000. This report stressed the importance of public sector involvement in providing health information to the public on the web. The CHN was identified as "the most notable effort in Canada" along these lines. The government's part should be "to ensure that the information and the technology is accessible, relevant, user-friendly, supports selfcare/telecare, can be trusted and is supported by appropriate standards." The CHN's role in this was seen as fundamental to the Blueprint's authors.


  • A 2005 Government On-Line Public Report from Health Canada describes CHN as "a key tool for horizontal integration, collaboration and presentation of information." It mentions the results of an online survey, conducted in the spring of 2004, which revealed that "approximately 95% of users were either satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of information provided by the CHN."









  • In the absence of any other major repository for multilingual health information resources for the public, CHN has provided a valuable service to this country of immigrants.



  • Health information for Aboriginal Peoples is a unique feature of CHN.






  • CHN costs have been decreasing, making the portal more cost-efficient over time. It is not clear why the government has chosen to withdraw CHN's funding precisely at a time of large surpluses.




Please act today to preserve the Canadian Health Network. Sign this petition and add your voice to the many who are defending non-commercial, publicly funded health information for all Canadians. Send a letter (or make use of a sample letter we have provided) to your MP, the Minister of Health, and the Prime Minister.

We the undersigned support the Canadian Health Network. We demand that the funding cut required of the Public Health Agency of Canada be rescinded, that full, stable funding for the Canadian Health Network be restored immediately, and that this valuable Canadian health information resource continue to be developed to become the best of its kind in the world.
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