Public Health Expertise and Reference Center, Quebec (INSPQ)

(Institut national de santé publique du Québec)

Tel: 418.650.5115 extension 5336
945, avenue Wolfe
Quebec (Quebec) G1V 5B3

Dr. Nicole Damestoy
 -  Director General
Website -


Institute Profile

The Public Health Expertise and Reference Center, Quebec (Institut national de santé publique du Québec [INSPQ]) was created in 1998 to support the Quebec’s Minister of Health and Social Services, regional public health authorities, and health and social services institutions in carrying out their public health responsibilities. It provides a bilingual (English and French) expertise and it's a reference center in public health which services are grouped according to six major functions: Expertise and Advice, Information, Training, Research-Evaluation-Innovation, International Collaboration, Specialized Laboratory and Screening Services for supporting clinical or population-based diagnoses. 

As a broker of expertise, the INSPQ contributes to the definition and understanding of public health issues, as well as to the identification of interventions with a positive impact on the determinants of population health, deemed appropriate based on the contexts relevant to the decision-making process. It produces and shares scientifically based knowledge, through a range of quality products and services. It ensures the dissemination of this knowledge in a timely manner, using the appropriate wording and a suitable format to effectively support decision makers, health care workers, and partners in their endeavors pertaining to population health determinants. All these expertise areas are linked with the Quebec Public Health National Program. 

The INSPQ also hosts the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy, whose mandate is to increase the expertise of public health actors across Canada in healthy public policy through the development, sharing and use of knowledge. The Centre disseminates its work through two websites (in English) and (in French). The INSPQ is also part of three collaborating centers of the World Health Organization.

To perform its role of assisting in public health decision-making, the Institute relies on the effective combination of three areas of expertise:

  • Theme-Based expertise: adapted to the evolving needs of the population and addressing current public health issues, such as infectious diseases, occupational health, environmental health and toxicology, safety and injury prevention, individual and community development, lifestyles and prevention of chronic illnesses, analysis and evaluation of health and social service systems;
  • Analytical expertise: microbiology and medical biology laboratory services, toxicology laboratory services, clinical screening services;
  • Methodological expertise: information management and analysis, knowledge translation, planning, research, and evaluation.

In collaboration with universities and professional associations working in public health, the Institute develops and offers ongoing training programs, helping ensure the development and maintenance of skills in its fields. It also helps develop and update public health courses at the undergraduate, masters and PhD levels. The Institute contributes to the development and implementation of ministerial orientations in health and social services, including first and foremost, Québec’s Public Health Program.


Current Work

National Policy of Health Prevention (Programme national de prévention - PNP)

The INSPQ had a major role in the development of the PNP. It assisted Government expert committees carrying out the review of sectoral and cross-sectoral measures favorable to health, in different areas (land use, transportation and environment, social solidarity and work, agri-food, family and childhood, health and social services). It has also been a member of management and strategic committees.

Epidemiology of Sexually Transmitted and Blood borne Infections (STBIs) (ITSS)

The Institute produced an extended report on STBIs in Quebec, which provides decision makers a comprehensive overview of the epidemiological situation, supports the development of surveillance of STBIs in Quebec and stimulates reflection about prevention.

Outbreak of Legionellosis Disease

Concerning this outbreak occurred in Quebec City in the summer of 2012, the Institute provided support for expertise in epidemiological analysis, in evaluating the actions on the environment, and laboratory analysis of human and environmental samples.

12th International Conference on Health Impact Assessment

The Institute has played a major role in the organization of this conference, set up by the Quebec’s Ministry of Health and Social Services. The conference provided the opportunity to position health impact assessment (HIA) as a preferred strategy to ensure that health is taken into consideration in all policies. Forty-two countries participated in the conference.

From Tiny Tot to Toddler—From Pregnancy to Age Two

The Institut provided a practical guide that contains scientifically supported information about pregnancy, childbirth and the first two years of a child’s life. A free printed guide is given to all new Quebec parents during pregnancy follow-up


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