An Exploration of Municipal Active Living Charter Development and Advocacy

Blair Evans, Alex J Benson, Terry L Mitchell, Jennifer E Robertson-Wilson, Mark A Eys


Background: Numerous municipal active living-related charters have been adopted to promote physical activity in Canada throughout the past decade. Despite this trend, there are few published critical examinations of the process through which charters are developed and used.

Purpose: Thus, the purpose of this study was to establish greater understanding of active living charter development and advocacy.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight primary contributors to different active living-related charters across Ontario, Canada. Interview questions explored participants experiences developing and advocating for an active living charter. Interviews were analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding.

Results and Conclusions: Participants consistently described a process whereby an impetus triggered the development of a charter, which was subsequently adopted by regional or municipal council. Continued advocacy to develop awareness of the charter and to promote desired outcomes in the community was valued and the capacity of the working group as well as the local political context played pivotal roles in determining how the charter was implemented. Outcomes were, however, rarely objectively evaluated a process that many participants thought was omitted in regard to their own charter. This work provides practical guidance for health professionals developing regional active living charters as a component of broader advocacy efforts.


Health Promotion, Physical Activity, Municipal Policy, Capacity, Qualitative Research, Population Health

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ISSN: 19206216