Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What is a Healthy Community?

A healthy community is based on the following fundamental principles:

  • Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being;
  • Social, environmental and economic factors are important determinants of human health and are inter-related;
  • People cannot achieve their fullest potential unless they are able to take control of those things which determine their well-being; and
  • All sectors of the community are inter-related and share their knowledge, expertise and perspectives, working together to create a healthy community.

Healthy communities are places where all people can live, work, learn and play and have opportunities and access to:

  • Affordable housing;
  • Transportation;
  • Healthy and nutritious foods;
  • Recreation;
  • Education and employment;
  • Medical and social services;
  • Clean air & water; and
  • A safe, inclusive, socially cohesive environment.



What are the Determinants of Health?


The determinants of health are the non medical factors that affect health.  These determinants closely interact and intersect with one another, thus making individual and community health a complex issue.  The determinants as outlined by the Public Health Agency of Canada include: 

  • Income and social status;
  • Social support networks;
  • Education;
  • Employment and working conditions;
  • Social environments;
  • Geography;
  • Physical environments;
  • Health and child development;
  • Health services;
  • Gender; and
  • Culture.

The social determinants of health are illustrated as follows: 

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What is the Ottawa Charter?

Adopted at a World Health Organization conference in Ottawa in 1986, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion is a document that recognizes that health is not the product simply of medical or other conditions directly related to health, but that it is a comprehensive issue, determined by a complex of social and environmental factors. This charter led to the development of the World Health Organization's Healthy Cities/Communities movement.