Pandemic preparedness requires a multifaceted approach with collaboration from all levels of government. The Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Planning Guidance for the Health Sector (CPIP) is a guidance document that outlines key health sector preparedness activities designed to ensure Canada is ready to respond to the next influenza pandemic. This article outlines Canada’s approach to pandemic influenza preparedness as described in the CPIP Main Body. Canada’s pandemic influenza preparedness planning takes place within a network of legislated requirements and emergency frameworks at provincial/territorial, federal and international levels. The plan includes several guiding principles, including collaboration among governments and stakeholders, evidence-based decision-making, proportionality and flexibility in tailoring responses to the situation, the adoption of a precautionary approach, the use of established practices and systems and the explicit incorporation of ethical principles in all decisions and decision-making processes. The roles and responsibilities of the federal and provincial/territorial governments is identified and three planning tools are provided: planning assumptions rooted in evidence; multiple scenarios to support decision-making; and descriptive terms such as the start, peak and end of pandemic wave rather than phase terminology to provide triggers for action. Overall, the CPIP Main Body sets out a scalable, coordinated risk management approach to an influenza pandemic. This is an evergreen document that will be updated regularly.