Local Residents Will Be Randomly Called As Part Of Provincial Phone Survey That Now Includes Peterborough Area

County and City residents will have an opportunity to voluntarily take part in a province-wide phone survey that, over time, will shed valuable light on the effectiveness of local public health programs.

Peterborough Public Health encourages local residents to participate in the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS).   Staff from York University’s Institute for Social Research will randomly call 100 people every month for the next 12 months, starting this month.  Information gathered from the phone surveys will be used to influence decisions about local programing and may also have the added effect of raising community awareness about important public health issues.

“This represents the first time Peterborough has ever been included in RRFSS.  Historically, most Ontario public health agencies have used this efficient and valued system to help plan programs and services,” explained Jane Hoffmeyer, Manager of Foundational Standards at Peterborough Public Health.  “We need to learn more about the beliefs and behaviours of local residents so that we can set priorities that are relevant to our communities.”

Ms. Hoffmeyer noted that the first round of questions will cover public health topics such as sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, tobacco use, cannabis health effects, general mental health and parenting. The survey is completely voluntary and all responses remain anonymous and confidential. Respondents can refuse to answer any questions if they are not comfortable.

Further information about the phone survey is available at www.rrfss.ca.


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 39

First in Series of InfoBriefs Released Today

Almost two-thirds of local workers are precariously employed.  This is just one result found from a survey on the status of employment and working conditions in the Peterborough area which included the City and County of Peterborough and Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations.

In the fall of 2016, 800 residents were contacted by phone and asked a series of questions related to their employment.  Over the course of the last 16 months, the Precarious Employment Research Initiative (PERI) has been creating eight InfoBriefs on a variety of topics including: 1) an overview; 2) employment security; 3) working conditions; 4) employment and health; 5) employment and work stress; 6) employment precarity, income and household wellbeing; 7) employment precarity, income and children, and; 8) employment precarity, income and community participation.  These InfoBriefs will be released over the next two months.

Today, PERI released InfoBrief #1: An Overview which can be found at: www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/PERI.

This work is supported by the Precarious Employment Research Initiative (PERI).  The goal is to identify how employment and working conditions are impacting the economic, social, physical and mental health of workers and their communities in the Peterborough Area.  The InfoBriefs are meant to be used to start conversations in our community, to help inform planning and development of programs and services, and to help shape public policies.

PERI is a collaborative project among many community partners interested in better understanding the employment and working conditions of workers in our community.  This project was initiated by Peterborough Public Health and expanded to include City of PeterboroughPeterborough and District Labour CouncilLiteracy Ontario Central SouthPeterborough Workers’ Action CentreTrent Community Research CentreUnited Way of PeterboroughWorkforce Development Board and Trent University psychology professor and researcher, Dr. Fergal O’Hagan with support from the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research project.


For further information about PERI:                                  To talk about the statistics:

Monique Beneteau, Health Promoter, PPH                                    Dr. Fergal O’Hagan, Trent University

705-743-1003 ext. 309                                                                         705-748-1011 ext. 7086

mbeneteau@peterboroughpublichealth.ca                                      fergalohagan@trentu.ca

Early Development Instrument – Presentation

Caren Thayer, Data Analysis Coordinator with the Social Services division of the City of Peterborough presented on the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a tool to assess the early childhood environment in our communities. The EDI is a teacher-completed survey that measures students’ readiness to learn in school in five domains: physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication skills and general knowledge. It is not a diagnostic tool to evaluate individual students’ performance; it is instead a tool to help inform planning, inspire small changes for large numbers of children, and create better population-wide outcomes. The EDI is an internationally-recognized tool completed across Ontario every three years by the Ministry of Education and other partners. The first six years of children’s lives are very important in preparing them for future success. Research shows that vulnerability in the early years can lead to academic failure, poverty, mental health issues, behavioural problems, criminality, obesity, and a multitude of other poor health outcomes. The latest report (September 2017) represents 1,200 kindergarten students from the County and City of Peterborough. Results on the EDI are mapped out according to the child’s address. The report found that 35.3% of Peterborough children start school vulnerable in one or more areas that are critical to their healthy development, and that local vulnerability is increasing over time. The Ministry of Education is conducting an “Early Years Experiences” survey for Kindergarten students in both boards of education to help understand the root causes of these vulnerabilities. Ms. Thayer noted that getting children outdoors helps improve every single domain. Please see pages 6-24 of the May 9, 2018 Board of Health meeting package for more information about this report.

Ontario Public Health Standards – New Healthy Growth & Development and School Health Standards

Program Managers Hallie Atter and Patti Fitzgerald provided an overview of these two modernized standards introduced by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) on January 1, 2018. There are new requirements in these standards, such as vision screening and numerous topic areas for consideration based on community need like concussion prevention, mental health promotion, etc. In addition to these new areas, work will continue in the domains of reproductive health, Healthy Babies Healthy Children, sexual health, and oral health. Planning is underway to strategically develop public health interventions that strive to achieve enhanced and equitable health outcomes. Each program will be based on evidence, carefully monitored and delivered using best practices by various teams.

2018 Budget Update

Larry Stinson, Director of Operations reported to the Board that MOHLTC approval was received on May 8 for the 2018 budget. The approval included a 2% increase in the cost-shared portion of the budget, amounting to an increased provincial contribution of $115,900. The Board gave direction to staff to seek the local share from the City of Peterborough, County of Peterborough, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation. With the local contribution, the total increase over the 2017 budget will be $154,420. The Board was also informed about 100% MOHLTC one-time funding totalling $98,300 for four projects.

The Board approved the recommendation from the Stewardship Committee that the Board direct staff to approach local funding partners with planned increases in funding for the 2019-2021 fiscal years. This increase is required to shift the local/provincial cost-funding formula from 25%/75% to 30%/70% respectively as one component of a three-prong strategy to achieve sustainable funding and service levels if provincial funding continues to fall short of the actual projected requirements. The other two components of the strategy include a focus on ensuring that annual provincial grants for both cost-shared and 100% provincially-funded programs continue to keep pace with the true costs and the judicious use of existing reserves to offset shortfalls.

Board of Health 130th Anniversary Planning

The Board discussed how honouring its 130th anniversary could support broader strategic planning efforts and raise the profile of local public health’s role in protecting the health of the community. On February 18, 1889 the Town of Peterborough passed a by-law creating the Board of Health for the community. There are records of Board of Health meetings taking place in the City of Peterborough dating back to 1891. Next year, February 18, 2019 will mark the 130th anniversary. Celebrating the 130th anniversary of the Board of Health will provide an opportunity to raise the profile of the Board and showcase its history of service to local communities and the contributions of the various public health disciplines. It could be used as a theme during the year, emphasizing the longevity and local flavour of public health practice. Finally, it could help strengthen the Board’s argument for increased and sustainable provincial and municipal funding for local public health. This was approved by the Board.

Board of Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Week

Board member Kerri Davies provided fellow members with a green ribbon in honour of Mental Health Week. The goal of this campaign is to create a thriving and inclusive community, free from stigma by protecting, celebrating and promoting mental health.

Next meeting:

The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. in the Curve Lake Health Centre / Oshkiigmong MnoBmaadziwin Gamiing, located at 38 Whetung Street East, Curve Lake First Nation.

All Welcome to Attend – Doors Open at 6 p.m.

The media and members of the community are invited to attend a provincial All-Candidates’ Meeting for the Peterborough-Kawartha riding on Monday, May 14 to discuss health and social issues.

All locally registered candidates who are running for provincial election have been invited to participate. The meeting will be moderated by Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health for Peterborough Public Health.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and this free event takes place from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Peterborough Public Health, second floor, located at 185 King St., Peterborough. Free parking is available across the road in the King St. parkade.  This event is wheelchair accessible and hearing assistive devices are available upon request.

This nonpartisan event has been organized by several community partners, including the Nourish Project, Peterborough Public Health, the Council of Canadians, Peterborough & District Labour Council, Youth Political Activist Coalition, Peterborough Health Coalition, and Peterborough Healthcare Providers Against Poverty.

More information is available at https://nourishproject.ca/events.


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
|705-743-1000, ext. 391

Today more than 200 Queen Elizabeth Public School students joined Mayor Daryl Bennett as he declared the weeks of April 30-May 13 “Screen Free Weeks” in the City of Peterborough.

“Encouraging kids to unplug electronics and engage in more physical and social activities will help improve their overall physical and emotional health and well-being,” said Mayor Bennett. “Putting down the phone, turning off the TV, and being more active is an important message for all of us.”

In honour of Screen Free Week, the school held a special “Loose Parts Play Day” to encourage healthy and active living as part of their curriculum and daily lives. “This year we expanded the day to include the entire school,” said Julie Hoit, Principal of Queen Elizabeth Public School. “We see positive benefits in the students’ mental and physical well-being after being outside and playing all day.”

Joining in the fun was Diane Lloyd, Chair of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. “Today’s event is designed to inspire parents and caregivers and their children to replace non-educational screen time with outdoor play and other healthy activities such as screen free family meals, reading, dancing and gardening,” she said.

Screen Free Weeks are all part of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, a province wide initiative focusing on healthy eating, healthy hydration, physical activity and reducing screen time. It is coordinated by the City of Peterborough and Peterborough Public Health.

Healthy Kids Community Challenge’s current theme, “Power Off and Play!” promotes the benefits of reduced screen time for children and encourages kids and families to build a balanced day by replacing screen time with more physical activity. For the next few months, community wide programs and resources will be promoting powering off before sleep, during meal and snack time, and encouraging physical activity, social interaction, and fun and educational activity options for children.

“The goal of this program is to create communities where it is easy for children to lead healthier, active lives,” says Healthy Kids Community Challenge Coordinator, Claire Townshend. “Children are encouraged to stay within the recommended screen time guidelines, power off devices at least one hour before bed, and eat meals and snacks away from their devices.”

To learn more about Healthy Kids Community Challenge, please visit www.healthykidsptbo.ca or follow @HKCCPtbo on Twitter and Facebook.


  • Research shows too much screen time for children can have negative outcomes for early development, physical and psychological health, and can interfere with important daily routines, making it difficult for children to stay healthy.
  • Healthy Kids Community Challenge Peterborough is among 45 communities selected to take part in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge province wide.
  • The Canadian Society for Exercise and the Canadian Pediatric Society’s recommended screen time limits are:
    • Under 2 years of age – no screen time
    • 2-4 years – less than 1 hour per day
    • 5-17 years – no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time per day


For further information, please contact:

Claire Townshend, BHSc, MPH

Healthy Kids Community Challenge Project Coordinator

705-743-1000, ext. 355



Location: J.K. Edwards Board Room, Peterborough Public Health,

Jackson Square, 185 King St., Third Floor

Media and the community are advised that the next Board of Health meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

To download the agenda and the online board package, please visit:


This meeting is open to the community and members of the media.  Guests are asked to use the buzzer located on the wall to the right of the main front doors to alert Peterborough Public Health staff when they arrive.  The board room is located on the third floor of Jackson Square, 185 King St. Free parking is available after 6 p.m. on the street or across the road at the King St. Parkade.


For further information, please contact:

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

Hundreds of Volunteers Recognized at Appreciation Luncheon Gala

Today, more than 200 volunteers were honoured for their remarkable contributions that make school breakfast and snack programs possible in Peterborough County and City.

Twenty-five years ago, a local service group approached two downtown schools and Peterborough’s public health unit with the idea of organizing a breakfast program for children.  Through the significant commitment and dedication of community partners, local businesses, schools, and volunteers, the Food for Kids partnership has grown to 72 breakfast, snack and lunch programs in 48 schools.

“Since 1992, our community has stood behind breakfast programs and helped feed many children. We are honoured to celebrate all of the incredible volunteers who help to make Student Nutrition Programs a success,” said Susan McEwen, Chair of the Food for Kids Steering Committee. “Without their dedication and commitment, these programs couldn’t exist.”

“Volunteers contribute in many roles. Some do grocery shopping, or pick up food. Others help with food prep, serving meals or fundraising. There are so many ways that volunteers help feed kids,” said Angela Fuchs, Food for Kids Student Nutrition Program Coordinator. “Every contribution makes a positive impact to help students reach their potential.”

“When students are hungry, it is hard for them to concentrate in class. Good nutrition is clearly linked to an increased ability to learn,” said Luisa Magalhaes, Registered Dietitian with Peterborough Public Health. “Teachers report better student behaviour, attitude, attention span, and school attendance when nutrition programs are offered.”

Today’s luncheon recognized the contributions and dedication of Food for Kids’ 1000+ volunteers, who dedicate an average of 1,395 hours each week.  Thirty-five Student Nutrition Program volunteers were honoured at the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards on April 19 for 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service.  Susan McEwen expressed her sincere gratitude for the more than 150 community partners and sponsors who provide support.

“Thank you to all who contribute time, food, funding, supplies and space. Food for Kids needs you! Thank you for making an important impact on kids in our community.”

To contact Food for Kids, call 705-743-1000 or visit www.foodforkidsptbo.ca.

Residents Reminded to Prevent the Spread of Illness

This year’s severe flu season has prompted Peterborough Public Health to remind local residents to prevent spreading the flu, especially those who engage with seniors.

“With a three-fold increase in influenza outbreaks in local long-term care facilities this season, we urge local residents to use all methods possible to protect our most vulnerable from catching the flu virus,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “Most of the precautions people can take are very straightforward, such as washing your hands often, staying home if sick, and not visiting elderly friends and family if you are feeling unwell.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted that this year’s flu season started earlier and is lasting far longer than last year.  As of April 9, 2018, there have been 22 influenza outbreaks in local long-term care facilities, compared to only seven last year. This does not include outbreaks of other viruses in facilities, such as norovirus or Human Metapneumovirus.  The flu vaccine was actively promoted last fall, and a total of 50,770 doses of flu vaccine have been distributed this season throughout the community through local pharmacies and health care providers.

“Anyone at high risk for complications from influenza should see their primary care provider as soon as possible if symptomatic with flu-like illness as antivirals can help reduce the risk of hospitalization,” said Dr. Salvaterra, adding that antivirals must be started within the first 24-48 hours of illness in order to work best.

“This has been an unusually severe flu season, with both A and B influenza strains circulating at the same time,” explained Dr. Salvaterra. “Typically the A strain peaks first, followed by the B strain.  To have both surge together this late into April is definitely outside the ordinary and has placed a real strained local health care resources.”

For more information on precautions to take during flu season, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.


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

Low-Cost Rabies Clinics on Saturday, April 28

Peterborough Public Health is teaming up with local veterinarians to help combat rabies.

On Saturday, April 28 from 12 noon until 2:00 p.m., there will be multiple clinics running across the County and City to help protect pet dogs and cats against the disease. These vaccinations are low-cost at $30 per pet, cash only.  Dogs must be leashed and cats caged or restrained.

Provincial law requires that all cats and dogs over three months of age in Peterborough City and County must be vaccinated for rabies. Vaccinations protect pets from rabies and helps protect your family, if your pet is bitten by a rabid wild animal.

“We hope that the community will take advantage of these low-cost rabies clinics, which are being set up at multiple sites across the County and City,” said Atul Jain, Manager of Environmental Health, who oversees the rabies prevention and control program for Peterborough Public Health. “Not only is vaccinating your cats and dogs the law, but it is the easiest way to protect your pets and family from rabies. While it’s rare, when humans develop rabies from infected animals it is almost 100% fatal.”

Wildlife rabies cases in Ontario has been spreading in recent years. In 2016, there were 288 confirmed cases of fox and raccoon strain rabies in Ontario, compared to just 24 cases in 2015. Last year (2017) there were 149 rabies cases in animals in Ontario, including one cat.  Pet vaccination and the provincial baiting program are still required to keep rabies at bay for the protection of Ontario families.

Rabies is a deadly disease of the central nervous system that affects humans and other mammals. The virus is concentrated in the saliva of a rabid animal and can spread through a bite, cut or scratch, or if the saliva comes in contact with the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes. There is no known treatment for rabies once the symptoms appear.  The disease cannot be treated, but it can be prevented through vaccination.


For more information about the low-cost rabies clinics or to find a clinic location near you, please visit our page about Rabies Clinics or call the Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000, ext. 232.

For further information, please contact:

Atul Jain, Manager, Environmental Health

705-743-1000, ext. 259


Update from Township of Cavan-Monaghan

Mayor Scott McFadden provided an update on local developments in Cavan-Monaghan. He noted that 20% of township residents are over 65 years old, and that supporting aging residents is a major focus of municipal planning. Rural access to medical specialists remains a challenge. The township was successful in acquiring funding from the Canada 150 program to expanded local trails to keep residents active. Other important public health activities include developing a new community centre in Millbrook, and completing a Climate Change Action Plan. He acknowledged the support received from Peterborough Public Health in all these initiatives.

Day of Pink

Several members of the Board of Health wore pink in honour of the International Day of Pink on April 11, 2018. It is a day where communities across the country, and across the world, unite in celebrating diversity and raising awareness to stop homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, and all forms of bullying.

Delegation Re: GE Production Facility Exposures

Jim Gill, a retired Occupational Health and Safety Director with CAW/Unifor presented a high-level overview of local efforts to raise awareness about occupational health exposures at the GE plant in Peterborough and compensation claims for affected workers. He asked the Board of Health to endorse the idea of long term and sustainable funding for  an Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers in Peterborough and for the Medical Officer of Health to assist in the planning of  an education session for local healthcare providers on completing patients’ occupational health histories as a regular practice. Both requests were unanimously supported by the Board of Health.

Smoke Free Movies: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use

Last month, the Board of Health asked staff to help draft a motion to advance the advocacy of smoke-free movies. Movies remain an unregulated media channel whereby tobacco companies have unfettered access to youth and where these companies continue to promote their products. The tobacco industry has a long history of paying actors, production companies, and movie studios to use and endorse their products in movies. Nearly 60% of top movies made in the last 10 years contain onscreen commercial tobacco. Research shows that commercial tobacco images in movies recruit new smokers and subsequently lead to an increase in preventable tobacco related deaths and preventable disease. The Board of Health passed a motion prepared by PPH staff calling on local MPPs and the Ontario Film Review Board to make the following policy changes:

  1. Rating future films with tobacco impressions in them 18A in Ontario
  2. Requiring strong anti-smoking ads to be shown prior to movies that have tobacco use in them (i.e., as a PSA or trailer before the movie starts)
  3. Requiring movie companies to certify that they have not been “paid-off” for displaying tobacco in their films
  4. Prohibiting tobacco brands displayed in movies
  5. Restricting government grants and subsidies for youth-rated films that have tobacco imagery in them.

New Ontario Public Health Standards: Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellbeing, Substance Use and Injury Prevention

Program managers Hallie Atter and Donna Churipuy provided the Board with an overview of these two modernized standards and related guidelines that took effect January 1, 2018. The Substance Use Prevention guideline focuses public health’s work on harm reduction and reducing stigma experienced by people who use or who are addicted to substances such as alcohol, opioids and cannabis. Substance use is now more explicitly integrated in the new standard with mental health promotion, representing new work for public health.  Public health must also now disclose tobacco enforcement compliance convictions on its website (see below).  The impact statement driving local work to implement this standard is to achieve “enhanced and equitable health outcomes”. There is also no longer a requirement in the Ontario Public Health Standards for public health agencies to promote cancer screening as this responsibility falls to other organizations such as Cancer Care Ontario and local primary care providers. Peterborough Public Health will continue to support cancer screening efforts in Hiawatha First Nation.

New Website for Peterborough Public Health

Communications Team members Kerri Tojcic and Brittany Cadence provided a sneak preview of the sandbox (i.e. not live) version of the new website for Peterborough Public Health. This project grew out of a need to make the site mobile-friendly and compliant with AODA requirements, and to include new functions such as online registration for food handler classes. It also prominently features “Inspections” on the home page so residents can easily find the latest inspection results relating to food premises, personal service settings (e.g. tanning salons, spas, public pools, tattoo parlours, etc.), tobacco enforcement violations, and infection control lapses in clinics. Funding for this project came from a one-time grant provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The new website site is undergoing content review and will be launched during National Access Awareness Week in May 27-June 2, 2018.

2017 Audited Financial Statements

Mr. Richard Steiginga of Collins Barrow Kawarthas LLP, Chartered Accountants, presented the Board of Health’s 2017 draft audited financial statements. Overall, the 2017 statements were found to present fairly the financial position of the organization according to Canadian accounting standards and were approved by the Board of Health. These were approved by the board and will inform the soon to be finalized annual report for2017.

Future Funding of Public Health

The Stewardship Committee brought forward the various solutions they have been working on to address PPH’s challenging financial position caused by a lack of increased provincial funding for cost-shared programs since 2015. The Board noted this is a sector-wide issue and not specific to PPH. The Board agreed to ask provincial associations such as the Association of Local Public Health Agencies and the Association of Municipalities in Ontario to advocate for sustainable public health funding for local boards of health from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.  Other components of the funding strategy include strategic deployments of reserves as well as approaching local funders to seek a larger contribution for cost-shared (provincial and municipal) programs and services.

Next Meeting:

The next Board of Health meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at Peterborough Public Health, Dr. J.K. Edwards Board Room, third floor, Jackson Square, 185 King St. in downtown Peterborough.