The Honorable Marc Lalonde

Public Health Heroes
Marc Lalonde
Marc Lalonde

The Honorable Marc Lalonde of Canada (1935 - ) is a Canadian retired attorney, politician, and cabinet minister who served as Minister of Health and Welfare.

In 1972 he published proposals for a major reform of the Canadian social security system. He wrote public policy for his country that greatly influenced the hemisphere for decades. In 1974 Mr. Lalonde published "New Perspectives on the Health of Canadians," a document that became known as "The Lalonde Report." The report had a transformative effect on the way world thinks about health. It remains one of the founding documents of health promotion. It outlines a conceptual framework for a holistic understanding of health as an outcome of human biology, environment, lifestyle, and health care organization. The report is described for many as “a cornerstone of Canada's international reputation and a proud historical achievement in the health field”.

Hon Lalonde received internationally recognition for his policies and advocacy of health promotion by developing a blueprint for a prevention-oriented national medical system. This innovative framework gave impetus to national and international initiatives in knowledge development, health promotion, health protection and health care which not only have contributed to the health of Canadians, but also to global health initiatives.

Between 1974-1976, he was Minister of State for Sport; he initiated a major reorganization and expansion of amateur sports in Canada as well as launched public education campaigns on physical fitness. In 1977, he assumed the additional portfolio of Minister of State on the Status of Women. He launched major legislative and administrative reforms for the advancement of women’s rights, culminating in the publication of "Towards Equality of Women”.

He was an active member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, representing the Ontario Liberal Party.

In 1977 Hon Marc Lalonde received the Dana Award by The American Public Health Association (APHA) for his "outstanding leadership in developing a blueprint for a prevention-oriented medical system".

In 1988, received the World Health Organization Medal for his exceptional contribution to health policy. He was selected by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in 2002 as one of eleven Public Health Heroes of the Americas who have shaped the past 100 years of international public health. In 2004 he became member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Hon Lalonde has written important articles and given numerous lectures, in Canada and abroad, on the importance of a holistic approach to health policy.

Links of interest:

Article: New perspective on the health of Canadians: 28 years later. Marc Lalonde. Pan American Journal of Public Health 12(3), 2002.

Video: Marc Lalonde. Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (produced by CMHF), 2010.