In this commentary, Livio Di Matteo discusses the implementation of public health programs across the country, assessing the regional impacts of these policies.

In 1974, the Lalonde Report titled “A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians” argued that we needed to look beyond traditional health care focused on medicine. If we wished to improve the health of the public, a ‘broad determinants of health’ approach, focused on things like lifestyle choice and behaviour, needed to be pursued. Nearly forty years later, does the evidence show a major swing towards public health as a priority in government health expenditure?

Di Matteo notes that there has been a rise in public health spending since the early 1990s. There is a large variance in the implementation of these programs from province to province. The question is whether this is a function of resource constraints, or if it reflects regional preferences on the composition of health care programs.

In Spending on Public Health Programs, Di Matteo assesses the variance among provinces when it comes to public health programs, and offers readers some food for thought regarding the effectiveness of these programs.

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