Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention (CLASP)

Chair: David Patman


CLASP is an initiative of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer that aims to improve the health of communities and of Canadians. CLASP does this by bringing together organizations across two or more provinces and territories, and bringing together research, practice, and policy experts, to form coalitions to integrate cancer prevention with strategies to prevent other chronic diseases.

CLASP responds to the reality that many aspects of healthy living and a healthy environment can reduce the risk not only of many cancers but also of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, lung disease and heart disease. These factors include maintaining a healthy body weight, quitting smoking and reducing environmental and occupational exposures to toxic substances.

Together with its funding partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Partnership is providing ongoing collaboration opportunities to further support the prevention community in sharing knowledge and best practices and in cultivating additional partnerships.

Healthy Canada by Design (HCBD)

A growing body of evidence has demonstrated an association between the built environment–defined as the arrangement of buildings, parks, schools, roads and other public structures encountered in daily life–and health outcomes such as, levels of physical activity, body mass index, exposure to air pollution, and others.

Public health officials, NGOs and planning practitioners across Canada have taken notice of this evidence and have started to take action. However, improving the health promoting potential of built environments presents a challenge: the levers to address this issue exist within the jurisdiction of several sectors and levels of government. With this in mind, Phase 2 of the Healthy Canada by Design CLASP will pursue two main objectives:

  • To broaden the impact of the HCBD CLASP by supporting seven new health regions in working collaboratively with planners, engineers and other stakeholders to identify strategic areas of action–and help integrate health considerations into built environment policies.
  • To deepen the impact of the HCBD CLASP by assisting health regions that were directly involved in CLASP 1 in addressing built environment challenges of strategic relevance, locally and nationally.

To broaden the impact of our CLASP, we will provide health regions in seven provinces with access to technical assistance on built environment policy as it relates to physical activity. This will include hands-on support for the health authorities to develop, implement and evaluate action plans for their involvement in land use and transportation decision-making processes. The action plans will be designed to boost the capacity of health authorities to influence local land use and transportation planning decisions, to foster long term sustainability of this work, and to produce tangible policy outcomes within the timeframe of this CLASP project. All work will take place in close collaboration with planners or engineers, and/or NGOs.

On the other hand, activities under the “deepening impact” stream will focus on three areas of action related to built environment and physical activity. These are:

  • community engagement,
  • enhancement of data translation systems and,
  • the application of innovative, health-promoting road designs.

The CITE Project

CITE’s role in CLASP 2 is to provide information to CLASP members on the role transportation engineers/planners play in incorporating active transportation options into new development. CITE is undertaking a multi-component research project to author a report looking at the roadblocks that transportation engineers and planners face when trying to encourage active transportation within development, and how these issues can be overcome, referencing previously completed CLASP efforts in the report as appropriate. Webinars will also make up a component of the project, as a way to share ideas and promote discussion.

We will be presenting the ongoing work and ultimately the findings of the report throughout 2014 in both webinar format and as part of a presentation at the annual CITE conference, which will take place in June 2014 in Waterloo, ON.

Topics to be covered include:

  • lack of standards for transportation infrastructure
  • View of active transportation as a low-priority issue by transportation professionals, when compared to facilitating automobile movement
  • Opposition to active transportation infrastructure by public/decision makers
  • Limited funding for new active transportation infrastructure
  • Liabilitiy considerations for engineers
  • Planning: Grid vs. Curvilinear street layouts and impact on active modes
  • Incorporating active modes into a hierarchical / arterial-based road network vs. a complete streets paradigm.
  • Issue related to active transportation: Winter cycling in Canada
  • Issue related to active transportation: Reduced speed limits in residential areas

Seeking Case Studies

This is an open call for any transportation authority, consultants, or local community groups in Canada that has an active-modes-related transportation project that they would be interested in having featured in the CITE TLC/CLASP “Healthy Communities by Design” report. The project can be large or small, and we are interested in both projects that are complete and underway, in progress, and even projects that were shelved or put on hold.

Please share this with your colleagues who may not be ITE members — we are looking for projects from all across Canada to include in the project. Please send a short blurb containing information about the project, any links to online information, and contact information on involved people who can discuss the project with our team to, with the subject line: CLASP CASE STUDY. The team will then be in touch with you later on as the project continues. Your project may be prominently featured in the upcoming report, as well as potentially in our future webinars related to the project.

Grad Student Support

In addition to the team working on the report, UBC will be assisting us with a grad student and professor who will be contacting both developers and transportation departments in large and small communities across Canada to obtain information on the status of their active transportation network, case study projects, and information on their perspectives on active transportation to supplement the content of the report. The student chapters of CITE across Canada are also going to be brought in to support UBC’s data gathering efforts.

Further Information

If you have ideas you would like to share, or would like to learn more, please feel free to contact us. Send an e-mail to David Patman, project chair