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Public Health Modernization

Public health in Ontario is in transition. The modernization of public health was announced as part of the Ontario government’s budget on April 11, 2019. Below are the highlights of what we at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) have been told by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC).

  • The number of public health units in Ontario will be reduced from 35 to 10 public health entities by April 1, 2020.
  • Ten new autonomous boards of health will be created with strong regional and local representation.
  • There will be continued local public health presence in communities and continued planning with local municipalities.
  • The funding formula for public health entities will change, with the municipal portion increasing and the provincial portion decreasing, depending on the size of the population served by the new public health entities.

We have also been notified that the province is proposing that SMDHU be split, with public health services for the District of Muskoka provided by a regional public health entity that will also include Sudbury, North Bay, Parry Sound, Algoma, Porcupine, Timiskaming, and the northern portion of Renfrew. Public health services for Simcoe County would be provided by a regional public health entity that would also provide service to the population of York Region. These changes would take effect April 1, 2020, although the MOHLTC did indicate that the province is willing to receive and consider feedback from boards of health, municipalities and other stakeholders on this proposed boundary change.

The SMDHU Board of Health has responded to these announcements through several letters to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott:

Letter re: Impact of provincially directed change in the funding of public health units on the municipal levies anticipated for 2020 (July 17, 2019)

Letter re: Northeast Public Health entities boundaries (July 18, 2019)

Letter re: Public Health Modernization mandate and funding (June 27, 2019)

Letter re: Public Health Boundaries (May 15, 2019)

Letter re: Public Health System and the 2019 Ontario Provincial Budget (April 18, 2019)

We have also sent letters to our community partners and clients in Simcoe Muskoka telling them about these changes:

Letter to partners/clients re: Public Health Modernization (May 23, 2019)

There has been a great deal of media coverage about the proposed changes and cuts to public health. Opposition to the changes has come from a variety of sources, including the following:

We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.
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