Introduction

The Canada – United States Pan Border Public Health Preparedness Council (PBPHPC) is comprised of health department/ministry representatives from the three regional border health collaboratives (Eastern, Great Lakes and Pacific NorthWest); four unaligned provinces and states (Alberta, Manitoba and North Dakota); and the Canada and United States federal government

Background

The Canadian-US border is the longest non-militarized border in the world with more than 4,900 kilometers (3,100miles) on land and nearly 3,900 kilometers (2,400 miles) by water. Approximately 90 percent of Canada’s population lives within 160 kilometers of the border and crossings are frequent with more than 200 million two-way border crossings occur each year.

Health authorities along the Canada – U.S. border face challenges in partnering with neighboring jurisdictions that may not share the same priorities, laws, resources or language. Differences in epidemiological case definitions, communication systems and personnel licensure are among the issues that must be resolved in order for provinces/territories and states to enhance cross-border public health emergency preparedness and response.

Much of the cross border public health emergency preparedness activities have been through regional collaborative and through the efforts of individual Provinces, States and local health jurisdictions. Establishment of a Pan-Border Public Health Emergency Preparedness Council (herein referred to simply as the Pan-Border Council) will more closely integrate Canadian – US federal government support and enhance coordination between the various regional collaboratives.