September 18 – Board of Health Meeting Summary

Written by Communications, September 24, 2019

Board of Health Membership Update

Dr. Salvaterra welcomed Councillor Nodin Knott from Curve Lake First Nation as the newest member of the Board of Health. Councillor Knott was recently appointed to the Board of Health following his election to Curve Lake First Nation’s governing council in June. He is replacing former Chief Phyllis Williams on the board and has been appointed several portfolios by his Chief and Council, including Health and Family Services and Rights & Resources, Consultation & Culture.

Update: Ontario Seniors Dental Program

Donna Churipuy, Director of Public Health Programs, provided the Board of Health with an update on Peterborough Public Health’s plans to implement the expanded dental program for seniors living on low income announced by the provincial government earlier this year. She explained that single residents aged 65 and over with an income of $19,300 or less or a couple with a combined annual income of $32,300 or less, and without existing dental benefits, will qualify for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. There are a total of 3,102 seniors living on low-income in Peterborough. It is assumed that the new dental program will see a 40% utilization rate (or 1,241 residents), for an annual cost of $700,100. The fact that dentures are now included is seen as a great benefit of this program, as these are not covered in other publically-funded dental programs. Ms. Churipuy expressed the concern that the imposition of costly deductibles may act as costly barriers for seniors who require dentures. Staff will keep an eye on this as more information emerges. Peterborough Public Health has submitted an application to the province for capital funds to increase the size its existing dental clinic and to develop an outreach service to provide dental care to long-term care home residents. It’s expected the Ministry of Health will open the program so seniors can start applying for coverage in the fall of 2019. As a first phase once the program opens, Peterborough Public Health will extend hours to serve eligible seniors, with a hope to get the capital application approved so clinic renovations can commence early in 2020.

Asbestos Update

Considering the recent news coverage regarding asbestos from GE finding its way into local houses, the Board of Health requested an update on this public health issue. Dr. Salvaterra explained that in 2004 (before her time as Medical Officer of Health) the Health Unit learned about GE workers taking asbestos insulation home, and at the time issued a call to local property owners to address the potential health risk. This resulted in a list of nine local homes that was provided to GE for their follow–up and remediation. Peterborough Public Health continues to receive questions from residents regarding asbestos and advises that the property owner get the home tested so they can determine the level of risk. Information is also available on our website, which promotes the GE Canada Environmental Programs Line. Peterborough Public Health understands that there are tests that can determine the unique composition of the GE asbestos. The website will be updated once more information about the GE-funded remediation program can be confirmed.

Next meeting:

The next meeting of the Board of Health will take place on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lower Hall, Administrative Building, 123 Paudash St., Hiawatha First Nation.