This webinar presented and discussed key findings from the report, Governing for the public’s health: Governance options for a strengthened and renewed public health system in Canada, led by Dr. Erica Di Ruggiero of the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. It was held on March 29, 2022.


The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many questions and presented numerous challenges for public health systems in Canada and around the world. Acknowledging these, in her latest report, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has called for a strengthening and renewal of public health systems in Canada so that they are better prepared to respond to current and future public health challenges.

The preparation of her report was informed in part by four reports commissioned from independent experts. We took advantage of their publication to present and discuss the main results of the one entitled Governing for the public’s health: Governance options for a strengthened and renewed public health system in Canada.

This webinar began with a presentation by Dr. Di Ruggiero, who shared some of the findings of the report, focusing on key pathways for strengthening, improving, and transforming the governance of public health systems. A panel of two experts, Professor David Hunter and Dr Jean-Louis Denis, then shared their thoughts on governance models and their implications for the future of public health systems.

This webinar enabled participants to:

  • Define public health system governance and recognize its main components.
  • Recognize issues related to the governance of public health systems in Canada.
  • Identify avenues for action to strengthen the governance of public health systems in Canada.


Dr. Erica Di Ruggiero
Director, Office of Global Public Health Education and Training Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Dr. Erica Di Ruggiero is Associate Professor of Global Health, Division of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences and Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH), University of Toronto. She is the Director of the DLSPH’s Centre for Global Health and Co-director, of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Health Promotion. Her research focuses on evaluating the role of different governance approaches and models in public health systems. She studies the impacts of population health interventions (policies, programs) on social, gender and health inequities. Her research also examines how evidence affects global policy agendas related to employment, other determinants of health and health equity in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. She was the inaugural Deputy Scientific Director with the CIHR-Institute of Population and Public Health. She holds a PhD in public health sciences from the University of Toronto.

David Hunter
Emeritus Professor of Health Policy and Management, Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University

David graduated in political science from Edinburgh University. His academic career spans over 40 years researching health systems with a focus on how policy is formed and implemented. Between 1999 and July 2017, David was Director of the Centre for Public Policy and Health, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Durham University. The Centre was designated a WHO Collaborating Centre in Complex Health Systems Research, Knowledge and Action in 2014. David moved to the Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University in August 2017. Since August 2018 he is an Emeritus Professor at Newcastle University in the Population Health Sciences Institute. He is a Visiting Professor, University of Chester. He is a special advisor to WHO Europe on health system transformation and, since July 2020, a member of WHO’s Global Network on Long-Term Care. Former positions include: non-executive director, National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2008-16); Appointed Governor, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2009-2017); and special advisor to the UK Parliamentary Health Committee on two inquiries into public health. He is an Honorary Member of the UK Faculty of Public Health, and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh).

Jean-Louis Denis
Full professor in health policy and management, École de de santé publique de l’Université de Montréal (ESPUM)

Jean-Louis Denis is a full professor in health policy and management, School of Public Health (ESPUM), researcher on innovation and health system at the CRCHUM and research fellow in residence CRDP at the University of Montreal. He holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) on design and adaptation of health systems. His research program is located at the intersection of applied health services research, organizational studies and policy research. Dr. Denis’ is an elected Member of the Academy of Social Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada (2002), Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2009) and Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences (2019). His work has been published in top health policy and management journals like BMC Health Services Research, Milbank Quarterly, Implementation Science, and Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law and in top management and public sector journals like Human Relations, Organization Science, Public Administration, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Academy of Management Journal and Academy of Management Annals. He is the co-editor of Organizing Care in a Time of Covid-19, Implications for Leadership, Governance and Policy in the Organizational Behaviour in Healthcare monograph series, published in 2021 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Webinar Recording

PPT Presentation
14 slides

PPT Presentation
Public Health Systems Governance: Better Understanding and Acting on
Governance to Strengthen Public Health Systems in Canada
12 slides