May 10 – Board of Health Summary

Written by Comms Team, May 15, 2023

Welcoming new Provincial Appointee: The Board of Health welcomed Mr. Paul Johnston, a new Provincial Appointee, who will serve a 1-year term. Mr. Johnston has a background in Information Technology in the Education Sector, and in his retirement is an active volunteer.

Presentation:  Small Drinking Water System Program Update

Chris Eaton, Public Health Inspector with the Environmental Health Program, delivered an update on the Small Drinking Water System (SDWS) program at Peterborough Public Health. The presentation covered the definition of a SDWS and the public health mandate and regulatory framework covering inspection of drinking water systems in Ontario. The Health Protection and Promotion Act and O.Reg. 319/08 provide direction to Public Health Units in Ontario to inspect SDWS to ensure that they provide potable water.  SDWS include resorts, restaurants, golf courses, churches, hotels/motels, seasonal trailer parks, arenas, libraries, medical centres, and any other public facility that are not served by municipal water systems. Eaton described how Ontario’s drinking water system inspection regime evolved from the Walkerton tragedy, which led to legislative changes in 2008 making Public Health Units responsible for the inspection of the majority of small drinking water systems in the province. As of 2023, there are 350 SDWS in the Peterborough area. The risk level of the system is determined based on the type of water source, local sources of contamination, sampling results, the treatment system, distribution system integrity, record keeping and operator training. The risk level determines the frequency with which water samples must be submitted for testing. The majority of SDWS in Peterborough use groundwater (wells) with a few using surface water (lake water). Ultraviolet (UV) treatment is the most popular form of treatment. Eaton concluded by providing an overview of the process by which operators submit samples to labs and the reporting process which must be followed if an test result is adverse.

Committee Report: Stewardship  

Mayor Matthew Graham (Chair of Stewardship Committee) reviewed outcomes and recommendations from the Stewardship Committee, including recent discussion with local elected representatives to address lack of sustainable funding for Peterborough Public Health. Opportunities for further advocacy were identified, including the need to provide sufficient time to municipal funders to determine funding options and uncertainty surrounding continued provincial COVID-19 funding. Meeting participants acknowledged Peterborough Public Health’s fiscal prudence and commitment to effective program delivery despite limited resources. Graham cited the findings of a 2019 analysis that determined that Peterborough Public Health delivers mandatory programs at a rate of $61.02 per capita compared to $72.45 per capita for five similar-sized health units. Participants acknowledged these efforts, noting that Peterborough Public Health can serve as a model for the delivery of effective public health programs and services in Ontario.

Presentation:  Informational Review of Mandatory Standards and Program Delivery: Central Services Division

Larry Stinson, Director of Operations, delivered an Informational Update on the work of the Central Services divisions. Central Services provides ‘back office’ supports to the broader organization in order to maximize the efficacy of frontline public health programs. The purpose of the Central Services division include: providing foundational supports and expertise across the organization; ensuring resources, supports and infrastructure are available to implement programs and services; and, to ensure compliance with the Ontario Public Health Standards, Employment Standard Act, and other legislation and regulations. Stinson reviewed the mandate and work and staffing complement of the four programs that make up the Central Services Division, which includes: Finance & Property (3.2 FTE); Communications and IT Services (8.6) FTE), Human Resource (1.5 FTE), and Foundational Standards (10 FTE).