The Working Group

In September 1998, DES Action Canada brought together a dozen women's health organizations, public interest groups and academics to discuss proposed changes to Canada's federal legislation on health protection. Out of that meeting grew the Working Group on Women and Health Protection. (changed in 2002 to "Women and Health Protection (WHP)")

This growing coalition of activists and academics that extended to include researchers, journalists and health professionals, shares a concern that Canada's Health Protection Branch is not adequately meeting its primary goal of protecting the health of Canadians. It will be increasingly active as Health Canada prepares to release its renewed health protection legislative framework.

The group has focussed on issues relating to direct-to-consumer advertising, post-marketing surveillance, risk management vs the precautionary principle and the regulation of natural health products. WHP is particularly concerned by the impact of health protection legislation upon the lives of women.

In 2001, the group undertook a cross-Canada education campaign to raise awareness and voice concerns about the encroachments of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescriptions drugs, noting that public safety is at risk with this development and that the costs to the health care system are becoming prohibitive. We continue to advocate for enforcement and strengthening of the current legislation.

Recent work includes discussion papers on international harmonization of drug regulation, problems with Canada's Adverse Drug Reactions program, concerns with a growing shift towards "pills for prevention" in health care, transparency in the drug approval process and clinical trials.

Women and Health Protection is administratively sponsored by the Canadian Women's Health Network and is affiliated with the Centres of Excellence for Women's Health.

Women and Health Protection is staffed by a volunteer Steering Committee.


Members of the WHP Steering Committee are:

Copyright ©2006-2010 Women and Health Protection
Supported by the Women's Health Contribution Program,
administered by the Gender and Health Unit of Health Canada.

In partnership with The Canadian Women's Health Network.