The emergence of a community of practice (CoP) begins with an idea –a belief that something new, something better should exist. CoPEH Canada began with dozens of Canadian and International connections, and 10 core members who initially came together to embark on a  journey- a journey of renewal, and a journey which focuses on transforming theory into action.

Early opportunities for funding were available from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which enabled a creative period fueled by the aspiration for a better future- for both human society and ecosystems.

A summary of our history:

2008: We established ourselves as a Community of Practice,  setting up an inter-institutional, pan-Canadian effort; focusing on defining the theory and practice of "Ecohealth" (executive summary) and hosting our inaugural fieldschool (UBC)

2009: Second fieldschool at University of Guelph

2010: First bilingual fieldschool (UQAM); began outreach to policy makers; ecohealth was nominated as a Canadian Public Health Milestone

2011-2012: Development of career-building initiatives; creation of an “Ecosystems Approach to Health” teaching manual; innovation of Workshop + fieldschool format; fieldschools at UNBC (2011) and University of Moncton (2012, bilingual)

2013: Initiation of two new Projects- 1) Ekosanté (a collaboration with the Latin American Community of Practice (CoPEH-LAC) funded by IDRC) & 2) “Linking Public Health, Ecosystems, and Equity through Ecohealth Training and Capacity Building” (funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada [PHAC]); Workshop+fieldschool at UNBC

2014: Host of EcoHealth 2014 in Montreal; Workshop+fieldschool at York University

2015: bilingual workshop+fieldschool at UQAM

2016: Memorandum of Understanding signed between 6 universities

2017: CoPEH-Canada members receive two CIHR team grants (ECHO and GESTE pour la partage des connassainces) which will contribute to CoPEH-Canad activities

2018: CoPEH-Canada celebrates its ten-year anniversary. We held an informal 10-year anniversary social event gathering around 15 CoPEH-Canada members who had traveled to Cali for the EcoHealth 2018 conference. 

2016-2020: Hybrid, multi-site course on ecosystem approaches to health. This part online, part face-to-face graduate level course on ecosystem approaches to health is offered each year in May at four “sites”: Montréal (UQAM), Guelph (University of Guelph), Prince George (University of Northern British Columbia) and an online “site.” Seven two-hour sessions (eight in the case of the online group) are conducted as simultaneous webinars across the sites. The rest of the time for the three onsite groups will be locally run sessions, including field trips (conditions permitting).

2020: Innovation of virtual experiential learning technics. A tool for putting these and similar technics into practice will be available soon.  

CoPEH-Canada is witnessing our alumni and team members flourish in their activities and feels both pride and commitment regarding the long-term and resilient statement profiled on our website:

« CoPEH-Canada is an adaptive community of scholars and practitioners dedicated to the understanding, teaching and application of ecosystem approaches to address current challenges to a healthy and sustainable global future.»