This document was published under a previous government.

Preventing and Managing Chronic Disease

Asthma Plan of Action

Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions in Ontario, affecting both children and adults. Over the past two decades, the prevalence of asthma has risen significantly in the Province and around the world. This increase is particularly evident among school-aged children, with approximately 13% of children in Ontario being diagnosed with asthma and an estimated 8.3% of adults have been diagnosed. Asthma is the leading cause of hospitalization for children in the Province and is a significant cause of school and work absenteeism.

Ontario's Asthma Plan of Action (APA) is an evidence-based strategy that supports best practices for addressing asthma across a variety of healthcare settings and community environments, where people with asthma live, learn, work and play. The goal of the APA is to reduce mortality, morbidity and health care costs for children and adults with asthma through integrated initiatives focused on health promotion and prevention, management and treatment and research and surveillance. The initiatives are based on the Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines and the Canadian Thoracic Society Guidelines for work-related asthma. A unique feature of the APA is the partnerships that have been formed to develop, implement and evaluate initiatives. Programs and related materials are available in English and French.

The Asthma Plan of Action initiatives include :

Primary Care Asthma Program
The Primary Care Asthma Program (PCAP) is an evidence-based asthma program intended to provide primary care providers with decision aids to support best practice regarding asthma assessment, diagnosis, management and self-management education. The pilot project included the development, implementation and evaluation of the Asthma Care Program which includes an asthma care map, action plan, diagnosis and management algorithm, and program standards. Results of the research showed a 50% decrease in emergency department visits and significant improvements in related asthma outcomes. PCAP has been maintained in the original eight pilot sites and has been implemented in a number of other primary care sites across the province.

The Ontario Lung Association is a key partner. Information about PCAP and its implementation can be found at :

Health Care Provider Continuing Education in Asthma Care
Health Care Provider Continuing Education in Asthma Care is intended to educate healthcare providers in the diagnosis and management of asthma patients in Ontario in accordance with the Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines. A variety of asthma related programs are available in the form of workshops, self-study groups, CDs and online learning. The program is led by the Ontario Thoracic Society through the Ontario Lung Association. Information is available at :

Public Health School Asthma Program
The Public Health School Asthma Program was developed to create asthma friendly and supportive school and childcare environments. Asthma friendly schools enable children with asthma to be successful self-managers of their asthma thereby, reducing children's school and parent's work absenteeism, days of interrupted activity and health services use. The Program is being implemented in elementary schools and child care centres in four regions :

The key components of the Program include :

For more information about the implementation of the program visit these websites :

School-based Approaches to Asthma
The purpose of the School-based Approaches to Asthma initiative is to increase awareness and provide outreach and asthma education materials to those in school environments that play a role in the management of asthma. Ophea is the primary partner in this initiative.

With an education and communication approach, the core activities include education materials for school staff, an integrated communication strategy, the incorporation of key asthma messages into other Ophea programs and services, and partnership-building. Key resources include Ophea’s Managing Asthma in Our Schools DVD and resource package and the Daily Physical Activity is for Everyone: What Educators Need to Know About Daily Physical Activity and Asthma Brochure.

For more information or to order these resources and more, visit:

Air Quality School Guidelines
Air Quality School Guidelines is intended to address the issue of indoor air quality as an asthma trigger in schools and daycares. Health Canada’s Indoor Air Quality - Tools for Schools Action Kit for Canadian Schools includes information and resources to help schools plan and maintain health indoor air quality environments :

Emergency Department Asthma Care Pathway
The aims of the Emergency Department Asthma Care Pathway (EDACP) are to :

The Pathways for adults and for children include a physician order set, teaching checklist and discharge plan and are introduced to hospitals through a workshop setting. The Ontario Lung Association is leading the development, implementation and evaluation of this initiative. Information can be found at :

Asthma Action
The Ontario Lung Association leads two initiatives intended to support children and youth with asthma. Child and Youth Asthma Public Education is intended to use public education techniques to help ensure that children, youth and their parents/caregivers have adequate, up to date, accurate, timely, and comprehensive information about asthma prevention and asthma care. Supporting Health Service Providers in Delivering Asthma Education to Patients and Families aims to :

  1. Provide primary care providers and pharmacies with evidence based asthma educational materials which is written for asthma patients and their families and;
  2. To determine strategies for promoting patient education by primary care providers.

Information about the helpline and other resources is available at :

Work-related Asthma for Industry, Agriculture and Horticulture
The Ontario Lung Association in partnership with the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) and Health & Safety Ontario (HSO) are leading the Work-related Asthma Education Program. The intent of the partnership is to raise awareness of WRA among employers, and workers in high-risk industries, with a focus on early recognition and prevention. The Ministry of Labour collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to provide oversight for this initiative.

The resources include fact sheets, brochures, web-based resources, webinars and work place presentations for a variety of occupations, particularly for those working in high risk industries.

The resources are available on the following sites :

Work-related Asthma Continuing Education for Healthcare Providers
The Ontario Lung Association - Ontario Thoracic Society in collaboration with McMaster University are leading the Work-related Asthma Provider Education Program intended to provide primary care healthcare providers with up-to-date guideline-based continuing medical education on work-related asthma. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has been collaborating with the Ministry of Labour on the oversight of this particular initiative Education is available through workshops and problem-based self-learning modules. An online module has been developed and is available through the Ontario Lung Association website : .

Smoke Free Homes and Asthma
The purpose of the Smoke-Free Homes and Asthma program is to increase the number of homes that are smoke-free in Ontario and to raise awareness of second-hand smoke as a trigger for asthma. Those at greatest risk are children, teens and adults who have asthma and live in homes where smoking is allowed. The Ontario Lung Association provides printed resources and is working with primary care providers and specialists in tobacco-related programs to address second hand smoke issues through primary care.

Information about Smoke Free Homes and Asthma is available at :

Asthma and Work-related Asthma Surveillance
The Asthma and Work-related Asthma Surveillance System is a resource of Ontario asthma data and information. Data on asthma incidence, prevalence and health care utilization improves our understanding of how to prevent and treat this disease. The Ontario Asthma Surveillance Information System (OASIS) was established to provide a population-based longitudinal surveillance system for asthma. The System links health data from a variety of administrative databases to enable reports on special asthma topics, and access to high quality and up-to-date asthma data and information for health planners, researchers, evaluators, educators, and community agencies.

The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in collaboration with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) is leading the Asthma and Work-related Asthma Surveillance initiative. Resources that are available include :

For More Information

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