April 11 Board of Health Meeting Summary

Written by Communications, April 17, 2018

Board of Health Pink Day

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.