June 30, 2015 – Innovative Format Designed to Foster Community Conversation about Public Health

Today Peterborough Public Health launched its 2014 Annual Report – this time as a three-minute video designed to make it easier for residents to understand the importance of public health and its progress last year on the local front.

“We wanted to create an Screen Shot 06-30-15 at 09.41 AMinnovative and accessible annual report that both promoted our many accomplishments in 2014 and showcased the way public health affects our daily lives,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “I’m proud to introduce this video as a way to engageour community in our work.”

Dr. Salvaterra explained that Public Health will share the video widely as a way to encourage a community conversation about public health.  The Public Health welcomes invitations from local organizations to present the video and discuss how its programs and services protect the public health of the community while promoting healthier lifestyles and addressing local priorities, such as poverty reduction.

The Public Health’s 2014 Annual Report video is available at www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca where you will also find financial statements and remarks from the Medical Officer of Health and 2014 Board of Health Chair.

Public Health highlights from 2014 include:

  • Establishing Peterborough’s first smoke-free condominium complex
  • Successfully earning the Baby-Friendly Initiative re-designation to support breastfeeding
  • Screening 4,144 elementary students for preventive dental health
  • Achieving 81% staff influenza immunization rate at local long-termcare facilities
  • Launching the fentanyl patch return program to prevent overdoses and the illegal use of painkillers
  • Conducting 1,839 food premises inspections to reduce the spread of foodborne illness

Public health is shaped by our social, economic and physical environments, as well as by our personal choices. Through community programs and by developing better health policies, Peterborough Public Health works to improve the living conditions of those in need for the benefit of all. We serve residents throughout the City and County of Peterborough, and Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, offering a wide range of public health programs and services. These include healthy eating workshops, poverty reduction initiatives, family home visits, oral health clinics, controlling infectious disease outbreaks, water safety and sexual health clinic services.



For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

June 29, 2015 –  Changes to Food Product Labels Make Nutrition and Sugar Information Clearer

New nutrition facts tables are coming to food packages, which aim to make it easier for Canadians to make more informed choices for themselves and their families.  Earlier this month, the federal Minister of Health unveiled the newest set of proposed changes to food labels.  Planned improvements include:

  • Updated nutrient recommendations,
  • Consistent serving sizes for similar foods,
  • An easier to read ingredient list that groups together added sugars,
  • A consistent placement of allergy information, and
  • Listed amounts of vitamins and minerals (rather than only the % Daily Value).

For the first time, there will be a % Daily Value for sugar, based on 100g of total sugar a day. The % DV value for sugars will help Canadians determine whether a food has a little or a lot of sugars. These labelling changes are a positive but incomplete step towards the World Health Organization’s recommendations that individuals limit their intake of “free sugars” to “less than 10% of calories” (50 grams of free sugars based on a 2000 calorie diet) and as low as 5% of calories (25 grams) to enjoy additional health benefits. This total includes naturally occurring sugars found in whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds, nuts and milk products, as well as those added to food. Also in the list of ingredients, sugars will be grouped. This will further help consumers see how much added sugars are included as compared to other ingredients.

“The amounts of naturally occurring sugars are not the concern in our diet,” says Luisa Magalhaes, Registered Dietitian at Peterborough Public Health. “Rather, it’s the sugars added to our food to make them sweeter that we need to watch out for. These include glucose, fructose, table sugar, honey, syrups, and fruit juices, and many more. To reduce your sugar intake, follow Canada’s Food Guide, and limit sugar sweetened beverages such as pop, fruit drinks and cocktails, energy drinks and sports drinks. These give us calories, and not much else.  Quench your thirst with water.”

The rule that tells us how to use percent daily value, “5% Daily Value is a little, 15% is a lot” will now appear at the bottom of the table.  We should aim for “a lot” of nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals, and “a little” of fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar.

Health Canada is inviting Canadians to share their thoughts on the proposed label, via mail, fax or email until August 27, 2015.  Visit www.hc-sc.gc.ca to learn more.


For further information, please contact:
Luisa Magalhaes, MHSc, RD
Public Health Nutritionist
705-743-1000, ext. 233

Sample Nutrition Label:



Screen Shot 06-29-15 at 09.31 AMMore graphics are available from:


June 23, 2015 –  November 2015 Occupancy of  Planned for Building’s First Three Floors, Centralizing All Public Health Services Under One Roof

Today Peterborough Public Health announced that it will be moving into the first three floors of 185 King Street in November 2015.

“This is an exciting milestone that represents years of hard work from our staff, the Board of Health, MPP Jeff Leal, and our many municipal partners,” said Dr. Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “We look forward to joining the downtown community and bringing all public health programs together under one roof to make it easy for residents to access our services.”

Efforts are already underway at Public Health to plan for the November move. Staff will be relocating from two of its present sites at 185 King Street and 150 O’Carroll Drive to the new location at 185 King St.  The Community Dental Health Centre will remain in its current location at the Peterborough Square.  Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.



For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

June 23, 2015 – The Peterborough Public Health is advising local residents to protect themselves from blue-green algae which may bloom on area lakes.

Blue Green AlgaeThe Public Health with the assistance of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is monitoring lakes in Peterborough County and City area. To date, no reports have been received of the presence or confirmation of blue-green algae this season.

“Residents should visit the Public Health’s website or call us for information about what to look for before swimming or consuming water if they suspect a bloom in their area,” said Atul Jain, Manager of Inspection Services Programs at Public Health. “Just as we’ve all learned how to avoid poison ivy and sunburns, it’s important to know how to protect ourselves from blue-green algae so everyone can still safely enjoy the outdoors.”

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria, called cyanobacteria that are known for rapidly reproducing and collecting to form large, highly visible blooms throughout the water column, on the surface of water as a scum, or on the lake bottom as a mat.  These blooms are not only unsightly and smelly: some species of cyanobacteria can also release poisons, called cyanobacterial toxins, when the cells that make up the bloom rupture or die. To report a blue-green algae bloom, residents are advised to contact the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change at 1-800-268-6060.

The risk to humans is primarily from drinking water that has been contaminated with toxins from a dense algae bloom.  Fortunately, there have been no human deaths attributed to drinking water containing cyanobacterial toxins, but the toxins may cause headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Long-term consumption of water containing high levels of cyanobacterial toxins may cause neurological or liver problems.  If allowed, farm animals and pets may consume large quantities of heavily contaminated water, resulting in sickness or death.

Some individuals are sensitive to blue-green algae, and may develop a mild skin rash or eye irritation even if there is no toxin produced by the bloom.  Some individuals will have no reaction.

For more information on blue-green algae, and precautions to be taken before swimming in or consuming water where there has been an algae bloom, go to www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca, click on “My Home & Environment” and visit the webpage dedicated to blue-green algae.



For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

June 18, 2015 – To view the Board of Health June 10 Meeting Summary please click the image below

Screen Shot 06-18-15 at 03.34 PM


June 17, 2015 – On the longest day of the year, Sunday June 21, all residents are being encouraged to take advantage of the extra daylight hours, turn off the TV, and get out and play in the park, schoolyard, or your local recreation centre.

ParticipACTION is launching Canada’s Longest Day of Play on Sunday, June 21st and wants you to get out, let loose, get active and PLAY!

“We know that children and adults aren’t getting enough daily physical activity,” says Claire Townshend, Health Promoter at Peterborough Public Health, “so making an effort to get out and be active can make a big difference in your health and wellbeing.”

We all deserve to play more. It’s easy to do, doesn’t cost money and gets our bodies moving while making us happy. And that’s worth celebrating. Looking for ways to get out and get active? Come and enjoy a free family fun event from 1:00-3:00pm at Confederation Park, Peterborough (across from City Hall). This is event is hosted in partnership with the City of Peterborough,  the Council for Persons with Disabilities, and Peterborough Public Health. There will be bocce ball, parachute games, ladder ball, snacks and much more!

Other ideas to get outside during the longest day of the year:

  • Head to the park or playground– pack a picnic to take with you – and take advantage of the extra daylight hours.
  • Visit a nearby splash pad
  • Get together with neighbours for a game of all-ages ball hockey, an evening of old-fashioned races (egg-on-spoon; three-legged; and sack races); or a game of soccer.
  • Take a hike on the trails
  • Head to the local tennis court, go roller skating, try lawn bowling
  • Tour the community…on bikes!

For more information about ParticipACTION Canada, visit www.participaction.com.


For further information, please contact:
Claire Townshend
Health Promoter
705-743-1000, ext. 355

June 16, 2015 – Last night over 50 local residents joined Peterborough Public Health and community partners to discuss the idea of a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) at Traill College. They learned that despite the best efforts of the local governments to address the issue poverty remains a serious concern within the community. When everything is being done locally and the problem still persists it is time to look for alternate solutions.

Carleton University professor Dr. Peter Andrée and Mary Anne Martin, a PhD candidate from Trent University, presented research including a case study that examined the tensions between food access and housing security in Peterborough.  It found that despite Peterborough’s best efforts to address the effects of poverty, food and housing insecurity continues to increase.  Also presenting is Rob Rainer, an advocate for Basic Income Guarantee discussed the results of a pilot program of guaranteed income in Dauphin, Manitoba during the 1970’s. This trial resulted in better health outcomes, fewer emergency room visits, and more young people staying in school and graduating from high school.

“In Peterborough the very best efforts are being made to reduce food and housing insecurity,” explains Dr. Rosana Salvaterra. “However, we are still struggling with these issues in our community. A basic guaranteed annual income for all could reduce the level of poverty here in Peterborough. This will produce better long term health benefits.”

This event is a partnership between Peterborough Public Health, Nourishing Communities: Sustainable Local Food Systems Research Group (with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), Carleton University and Basic Income Peterborough Network.


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

June15, 2015 – Investing in Quality (IIQ) Early Learning and Child Care Peterborough is a collaborative partnership between the early learning and child care sector, the City of Peterborough Children’s Services and Peterborough Public Health. This committee is working together to advance quality in early learning and child care in the city and county.

Our local childcare sector is comprised of 54 licensed child care programs, including centre-based programs, school age programs, and two licensed-home child care programs, a Family Support Program, a Special Needs Resourcing Program and two First Nations Child Care Programs. These programs support a total of 2,905 licensed child care spaces, with approximately 300 Educators and six Child & Family Centre Hubs.

Quality is an integral piece of the Ontario Early Years Policy Framework. To support Ontario’s vision for the early years, the IIQ initiative is supporting the need for high quality, inclusive care and intentional environments that are safe and engaging for all children. IIQ has provided quality improvement opportunities for licensed child care and early learning programs in the City and County to participate in, including knowledge transfer, promotion of best practices and professionalism.

Recently the committee engaged our local child care community in strategic planning that will help guide the committee’s course for the next three years. The focus will be on professional learning and mentorship.

Alex Cranfield IIQ Interim Chair explained that “by working together to promote quality, we can ensure the well-being of all children. It is essential to demonstrate that we embrace practices and procedures that are free of barriers, so that no one is disadvantaged.”

For more information on Investing in Quality (IIQ) Early Learning and Child Care Peterborough, please visit: http://www.investinginquality.ca/



For further information, please contact:
Alex Cranfield
IIQ Interim Chair
705-748-2237 ext. 204

June 12, 2015 -As the warmer weather brings on mosquito season, staff from Peterborough Public Health are ready to begin their search for any local evidence of the West Nile virus.

west nile virus trappingVector-borne Disease Prevention program staff will commence surveillance activities for West Nile virus beginning Monday, June 15. They will continue to collect mosquitoes for testing for the next 16 weeks.

Staff will trap live mosquitoes using five traps located throughout the City and County. Three traps will be at set at permanent locations while the other two rotate every couple of weeks to  ensure as much area as possible is covered by the trapping. Traps are checked daily. Starting in July, stagnant water will also be monitored for mosquito breeding activity*.

“Every year we monitor for the prevalence of West Nile virus in our area,” says Donna Churipuy, Manager of Environmental Health. “By doing so we are able to track any trends to see if the disease is on the rise, or if more mosquitoes in our area carry it. Our number one priority is to protect the public, and the sampling helps us make the public more aware.”

West Nile virus is more widespread with warmer temperatures and enough rain. If the weather remains hot for a long period of time with minimal rain there is a reduced chance of West Nile virus activity. This is because there will be less standing water for mosquitoes to breed in.

To best protect yourself you should remove any standing water from your property.  As well, ensure you use bug spray containing DEET, wear light-coloured clothing and long sleeved shirts and pants to avoid bites.


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

June 12, 2015 – Teaches Youth to be Tobacco-Wise

Tonight a unique, youth-led art exhibit opened entitled “Love My Life” featuring the creative expressions of 10-14 year olds as they learned about living tobacco-wise.

What are you passionate about that you need your lungs for? This was the question posed to the group who participated in the Love My Life (LML) Tobacco Free workshops that ran for six weeks at the Art School of Peterborough. Local youth explored tobacco prevention through positive self-expression, and over six weeks they developed a 3-D visual diary representing mind, body, spirit.

“It certainly was an incredible experience watching as these 3-D visual diaries grew, and how the students positively expressed themselves as they explored the notion of life’s breath,” says Jenni Johnston, owner of the Art School of Peterborough. “Rather than focusing on the negatives of tobacco use they were able to create something beautiful by discovering the positive of living their lives tobacco free.”

The students met at the Art School for two-hour sessions and discussed topics such as how the media portrays tobacco, the importance of finding balance in life, addictions and its effect on the teenage brain and the harms of commercial tobacco. The curriculum was led, organized and created by six Peterborough Public Health Peer Leaders. After the peer-to-peer lessons the students would work on their sculpture facilitated by two staff at the School.

The figures represent mind, body and spirit. The mind represents mental health, body embodies physical health and spirit symbolizes core values and beliefs. During the first two weeks a mask was developed. On the third week the students develop a personal tattoo based on symbols that reflect themselves. Finally, during weeks four to six the body is created including the lungs where students explore “Life’s Breath.”

The #LoveMyLife program was originally developed by the Eastern Ontario Public Health in 2014. Other health units have been encouraged to participate in the program, and in 2015 PCCHU ran their first LML campaign. For more information on the Love My Life Tobacco Free program please visit http://www.lmlontario.com/.


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence, Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391