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Board of Health Orientation

So, you're on the Board of Health.

Please accept a warm welcome from everyone at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU).

You probably have some questions, and we're here to help you answer them, with further reading available at your convenience. We hope the resources in the expanding boxes below will help answer your questions and increase your understanding of public health, the Board of Health, your role as a board member, and how public health impacts the health of our communities.

Public Health in Ontario
  • Updated: Board of Health e-Learning Module (eHealth)
    This online module includes comprehensive information on boards of health members' roles and responsibilities with respect to the governance and oversight of public health units and the delivery of mandatory public health programs and services in Ontario.
  • 2015 Board of Health alPHa Governance Toolkit
    The Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) represents Ontario’s public health units and their boards of health. alPHa is committed to helping those who sit on provincial boards of health better understand their roles and responsibilities as public health officials and keeping them updated on the latest public health initiatives. This toolkit is an effort to support board of health members and the important work they do.
  • Patients First Act (Bill 41)
    On December 7, 2016 the Ontario Legislature passed The Patients First Act (Bill 41), which will introduce significant changes to the delivery of all facets of health service in the province. Related to public health, the Act will “formally connect Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and local Boards of Health to leverage their community expertise and to ensure local public health units are involved in community health planning.”.
  • Health Protection and Promotion Act
    The purpose of this Act is to provide for the organization and delivery of public health programs and services, the prevention of the spread of disease and the promotion and protection of the health of the people of Ontario. (Full Act)
  • Ontario Public Health Standards
    The Ontario Public Health Standards and Protocols establish the minimum requirements for fundamental public health programs and services to be delivered by Ontario's 36 boards of health, which include assessment and surveillance, health promotion and policy development, disease and injury prevention, and health protection.
  • Organizational Standards
    The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport released a set of organizational and governance standards that will apply to all Ontario boards of health. The Organizational Standards communicate the government’s expectations for governance and administrative practices that are based on generally accepted principles of good governance and management excellence.
  • Public Health: A Return on Investment
English video
French video

An Introduction to Health Unit Service Areas
Strategic Directions
English video
French video
English video with narration
French video with narration



  • Organizational Capacity
    The health unit, along with one regional health authority and two other Ontario health units, is piloting a core competency framework over the next 16 months. The framework and 20 competencies (5 professional, 15 organizational) have been integrated into an electronic performance management system. This pilot is led by the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Health Unit and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

  • Accountability and Performance Management
    Accountability Agreements between boards of health and the government were introduced in 2011. They provide a framework for setting specific performance expectations, and establish new data reporting requirements to support monitoring these performance expectations.
Current Issues
  • Baby Friendly Initiative
    The Baby Friendly Initiative is a global program created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in response to low rates of breastfeeding and infant mortality. This program encourages and recognizes facilities that offer an optimal level of care for mothers and infants.
Public Health Reports
  • Initial Report on Public Health (2009)
    This report provides a snapshot of Ontario's public health sector. It provides an overview of the scope of public health and profiles the local operational context of public health program and service delivery.
More Resources
  • HealthSTATS
    What does our community look like? What are the needs in our community? What is the health status of our community? These are some of the questions that can be answered by analyzing health data.
  • Board Notes
    Current and archived (4 years) Board Notes are available online, while older Board Notes can be requested.
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