Public Health Units Ask Ontario Government to Defer and Consult on Changes to Public Health System
Written by Communications, June 11, 2019
Peterborough Public Health-led Resolution Passes at Association of Local Public Health Agencies’ Annual General Meeting
An emergency resolution sponsored by the Board of Health for Peterborough County and City passed today at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHA) taking place in Kingston. It calls on the Ontario government to delay the implementation of any organizational or financial changes to the provincial public health system until April 1, 2021, and to engage in meaningful consultation with the sector over the next 18 months.
“We are pleased alPHa’s members endorsed today’s resolution as a fitting expression of the public health sector’s willingness to work with the province while ensuring public health programs and services are not negatively impacted by the changes proposed by the Ontario government,” said Andy Mitchell, Board of Health member who brought forward the emergency resolution at today’s meeting. “This resolution also includes important language regarding the constraints faced by municipalities in light of provincial intentions to change the cost-shared formula for public health.”
The resolution notes that public health interventions are an important strategy in the prevention of hallway medicine and have been found to produce significant cost-saving with estimates that every dollar invested will save or avert at least $14 in future costs.
The full resolution can be found on pages 2-3 of this release.
Resolutions passed at the AGM will form the advocacy agenda of alPHa in the coming year.
For further information, please contact:
705-743-1000, ext. 391
June 10, 2019 Resolution for Association of Local Public Health Agencies
TITLE: Public Health Modernization: Getting it Right!
SPONSOR: Peterborough Public Health
WHEREAS the services provided by local boards of public health are critical to supporting and improving the health and quality of life of all residents of the Province; and
WHEREAS public health interventions are an important strategy in the prevention of hallway medicine and have been found to produce significant cost-saving with estimates that every dollar invested will save or avert at least $14 in future costs[i]; and
WHEREAS boards of health are accountable to both the province and their “obligated municipalities[ii]” to maximize their financial resources; and
WHEREAS meaningful municipal participation on boards of health ensures that public health agencies understand and respond to local and specific municipal needs; and
WHEREAS revenue opportunities for municipalities are constrained by both the ability to pay and provincial regulation; and
WHEREAS the current proposal for reorganizing the public health sector in Ontario was developed without meaningful consultation with either boards of health or their obligated municipalities;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Ontario public health mandate as currently outlined in the Ontario Public Health Standards not be altered or diminished in an effort to achieve budget reduction targets;
AND FURTHER that the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) calls upon the Ontario government to delay the implementation of any organizational and financial changes to local public health until April 1, 2021 with a commitment to engage in meaningful consultation over the next eighteen (18) months;
AND FURTHER that any changes in the cost-shared formula be phased in over five (5) years commencing in fiscal 2021-22;
AND FURTHER that in ongoing consultations with the province, that alPHa propose a joint task force made up of both political representatives and professional staff from public health agencies be established with alPHa, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the City of Toronto to undertake the following activities:
- Establish a set of principles to guide the reorganization of public health in Ontario that include:
- Assurance that the enhancement of health promotion and disease prevention is the primary priority of any changes undertaken
- Undertaking the consolidation of health units around a community of interests which include distinguishing between rural and urban challenges, and the meaningful participation of First Nations
- Taking into account the ability of municipalities to pay, considerations for the broad range of proposed changes in funding arrangements between the province and municipalities
- Developing a governance structure that provides accountability to local[iii] councils required to fund local public health agencies; and
- Conduct public outreach to municipal, public health and other stakeholders to validate both the principles and the resulting plans for future re-organization; and
- Ensure that the municipal and public health perspectives on any proposed changes, including the outcomes of consultation, are incorporated.
[i] Masters R. Anwar E. Collins B et al. Return on investment of public health interventions: a systematic review. J Epidemiol Community Health 2017;71:827-834.
[ii] Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER H.7, Part 1 (1) defines obligated municipality as “in relation to a health unit, any upper-tier municipality or single-tier municipality that is situated, in whole or in part, in the area the comprises the health unit”.
[iii] Under Section 50 of the HPPA, First Nation Councils can enter into agreements where they assume the same responsibilities as obligated municipalities.