About the Consortium
The Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health (JCSH) was established by provincial, territorial, and federal governments in 2005 as a means of bringing together two large systems – Education and Health – across the country in order to combine strengths for the wellness and achievement of children and youth in the school setting.
The Consortium, as it is often known, is a membership of government departments or ministries. The Department of Education and the Department of Health in each of the provinces and territories with the exception of Quebec form this membership. Working closely with the members in a funding and supportive role is the Public Health Agency of Canada as the federal collaborator. Since 2005, these 25 ministries/departments and agency have represented a common voice in Canada on the promotion of a comprehensive approach to wellness and success of all students.
As might be imagined, facilitating cooperation across the health and education sectors is not an easy task, primarily because the two have very different mandates. Recognizing that every province and territory has initiatives in place to foster healthy school environments and work for optimal success in students, the Consortium brings together key representatives of the member ministries to frame the direction and focus of this collaborative work in student wellness and success.
The broad direction for JCSH may be outlined in three areas:
- Strengthen cooperation among ministries, agencies, departments, and others in support of healthy schools.
- Build the capacity of the health and education sectors to work together more effectively and efficiently.
- Promote understanding of, and support for, the concept and benefits of comprehensive school health.
Development of the JCSH
The Consortium reflects the declared commitment made by First Ministers in the 2004 Health Care Accord to working across sectors through initiatives such as Healthy Schools.
In the Fall 2004, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) and the Conference of F/P/T Deputy Ministers of Health (CDMH) endorsed the establishment of a Joint Consortium for School Health and a School Health Action Plan that address a variety of health, social and learning-related challenges of school-aged children and youth. The founding meeting took place in March 2005.
The general direction of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global School Health Initiative is guided by the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986); the Jakarta Declaration of the Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion(1997) ; and the WHO's Expert Committee Recommendation on Comprehensive School Health Education and Promotion (1997).
The JCSH is governed by two Deputy Ministers’ committees – the Advisory Committee of Deputy Ministers of Education (ACDME) and the Conference of Deputy Ministers of Health (CDMH).
The JCSH Management Committee is composed of Assistant Deputy Ministers and other senior officials representing the Education and Health Departments in each member province and territory. The Management Committee provides the main forum for executive level discussion and decisions affecting the work of the JCSH.
Each province and territory has named a School Health Coordinator. The JCSH School Health Coordinators’ Committee serves as a pan-Canadian forum to advance comprehensive school health initiatives across Canada, and to support collaboration and alignment between health and education sectors in the promotion of health through the school setting.
The Public Health Agency of Canada acts as the lead contact for the federal government.