Elections: Health matters

Governments play an important role in shaping policies that impact all aspects of our lives, including our health. When you vote, you register your opinion on how you think the government should operate. It’s your right.

In Ontario, only about half of eligible voters turnout to vote.

Do you have family, friends, or neighbours who may need help voting? Helping those around you to register and vote encourages community participation on issues that matter.

Federal, provincial, and municipal elections

For information on upcoming and past elections, candidates, political parties, electoral districts, and voter registration visit the following websites:

The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing also has municipal election resources for voters as well as for candidates.

Priority issues from 2018 provincial and municipal elections

An image of the cover of the Health Matters report.

Municipal Election: Health Matters (PDF, 360 KB)

Voters consistently rate health care as a top concern. Although access to health care and pressures on the health care system are often profiled in election discussions, these are reactive measures. Increasing access to health care will not make our community healthier. Our health is impacted by other factors such as income, social status and supports, education, and literacy. Implementing preventative measures that address these factors will reduce the strain on our health care system by keeping us out of hospitals in the first place. Health is more than health care. Preventative measures are proven to be less costly than reactive measures.

No one should be at risk of poor health because of their social and economic situations.

During the 2018 provincial and municipal elections, Public Health Sudbury & Districts highlighted several key public health issues for candidates and voters to consider. The following priorities would bring about sweeping changes in health outcomes, preventing illness and mortality for millions of people. Although adapted specifically for the 2018 provincial election in Ontario, these priorities are important to consider at all levels of government.


Key recommendation

Support a proactive, comprehensive, and multi-stakeholder plan for opioids that includes education, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement.


Key recommendation

Support the development of Municipal Alcohol Policies, planning and implementation of alcohol-related interventions and other policy levers to reduce risk and harm from alcohol.

Income Security

Key recommendation

Investing in affordable housing and accessible and affordable public transportation while supporting and working with anti-poverty coalition and food policy councils.


Key recommendation

Support municipal leaders’ use of local lawmaking authority to restrict tobacco and reduce exposure in areas not covered by provincial legislation.

Support the implementation of the modernized Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, announced May 2018, to achieve the lowest smoking rates in Canada and support the end game goal by 2035.


Key recommendation

Support the development of Municipal Cannabis policies for the planning and implementation of cannabis-related interventions and other policy levers to reduce the risks from cannabis use.

Dental Care for Lower-Income Adults

Key recommendation

Support fluoridation of municipal water supplies.

Support municipal leaders engagement and collaboration in the development of a provincial adult/senior oral health strategy.

Mental Health

Key recommendation

Support healthy public policies that promote positive mental health. Invest in programs and services that promote safe and supportive housing and environments.v

Built Environments

Key recommendation

Support the strengthening of municipal policies that support active public transit use, social cohesion, and the preservation of agricultural lands and natural spaces.vii


i https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/alphaweb.site-ym.com/resource/collection/822EC60D-0D03-413E-B590AFE1AA8620A9/alPHa_Key_Messages_2018_Provincial_Election.pdf
ii Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy New Chapter 2018, http://health.gov.on.ca/en/common/ministry/publications/reports/SmokeFreeOntario/SFO_The_Next_Chapter.pdf
iii Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Evidence Brief: Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines. 2017. http://www.camh.ca/en/research/news_and_publications/reports_and_books/Documents/LRCUGKT.Professional.15June2017.pdf
vi http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/dental-emergency-report-1.3308355
v https://cdn.ymaws.com/alphaweb.site-ym.com/resource/collection/86D31666-E7EA-42F1-BDA1A03ECA0B4E3D/alPHa_2018_Election_Priorities_Package.pdf
vi https://www.phsd.ca/health-topics-programs/environment/built-environment
vii https://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/BuiltEnvironment

This item was last modified on July 18, 2019