July 17 Board of Health Meeting Summary

Written by Communications, July 19, 2019

Recognition of Departing Board of Health Member, Chief Phyllis Williams

Board chair Kathryn Wilson invited Dr. Salvaterra to present departing member Chief Phyllis Williams of Curve Lake First Nation with a recognition of her many contributions to public health. Chief Williams served for seven years on the board, including as Board of Health chair in 2014. She was commended for her leadership and her support on a number of public health issues that impacted her community and all residents in Peterborough County and City.

Delegation by MPP Dave Smith

MPP Dave Smith shared an update on the current work underway to address the local opioid crisis, and the provincial government’s efforts to restructure the Ontario public health system. Hiawatha Chief Laurie Carr and Peterborough County Warden J. Murray Jones were also in attendance. MPP Smith encouraged residents to sign his petition to show their support for bringing a safe consumption and treatment site to Peterborough. With regard to public health restructuring, he noted that the consultation process underway is fluid and that the earlier proposed model of 10 regional public health entities was only a starting point. Several board of health members shared their concerns about the province’s proposed download of a greater share of public health costs onto municipalities, and the rationale behind the provincial reduction in public health spending despite a proven track record of generating a cost savings to the health care system of $14 for every dollar spent. Board members also asked for an update on planned consultations with First Nations, and whether the proposed changes to the system would entail a change to Ontario’s Public Health Standards , last updated in 2018. The board voiced its concern over the truncated time for consultations and asked that this be extended to 18 months to allow for more public and transparent engagement. The Board of Health was very appreciative of MPP Smith’s remarks and dialogue at the meeting.

Considerations for the Board of Health in Amalgamation Process

The Board of Health’s accountability to the communities of Peterborough County, the City of Peterborough, Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation, requires that it protect the assets and prevent potential liabilities that could impact future delivery of public health programs and services in our region. A staff report noted that there are many potential financial impacts that can arise out of an amalgamation of two or more local public health agencies. Since, at this time, the boundaries for health unit regions within a restructured public health system have not been determined, the potential positive or negative implications and impacts are difficult to assess and quantify. There are, however, areas of risk that the Board should consider, including but not limited to: redistribution of assets (physical and fiscal), liabilities, and reserves and management of accountabilities during the transition. The Board directed staff to seek legal and financial advice and to provide an opportunity in August for the board to examine these issues more closely in order to prepare for imposed amalgamations.

 

Follow Up on alPHa Resolution: Public Health Modernization: Getting it Right!

In June 2019, Peterborough Public Health Board Members brought forward resolution A19-12 called Public Health Modernization: Getting it Right! to the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa). The resolution was passed by the alPHA membership and as such became part of alPHa’s advocacy efforts going forward. The Board of Health recently requested an update from alPHa on their follow up to this resolution and on July 12, 2019 received a response. alPHa shared that  several activities have been undertaken, including letters to the Minister of Health and Minister of Digital Public Health, as well as a meeting with the Minister of Health on July 9, 2019 where the resolution was raised. The letter noted that many of the resolution’s key points have been highlighted, including the alPHa membership’s significant concerns about the magnitude of the provincial government’s proposed changes and the ambitious timelines. alPHa noted that the public health system in Ontario is complex and highly integrated into a wide variety of community contexts, and that it believes that the speed and scale of the proposed structural and financial changes is not consistent with the government’s goals of maintaining a focus on the wellbeing of Ontario’s residents, increasing efficiencies in service delivery, improving alignments with the health care system, enhancing staff recruitment and retention and improving public health promotion and protection. Future efforts include a briefing with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and an alPHa delegation to the Association of Ontario Municipalities’ annual conference in August 2019.

Consolidated Financial Statements for 2018

The 2018 consolidated financial statements for Peterborough Public Health were audited by Baker Tilly KDN LLP in accordance with the Canadian generally accepted auditing standards. The audit concluded that the 2018 financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Peterborough Public Health in accordance with the Canadian Public Sector Accounting Standards.

Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the Board of Health will take place on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in the J.K. Edwards Board Room.