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Board meeting notes September 17, 2014

Sep 23, 2014
The health unit is taking its high priority topics into the electoral theatre with a four-page information sheet being distributed to all candidates in Simcoe and Muskoka.

Primer will bring public health issues to municipal election candidates 

The health unit is taking its high priority topics into the electoral theatre with a four-page information sheet being distributed to all candidates in Simcoe and Muskoka. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner explained that the title “Let’s Make Health a Priority” reflects the intent of the document, which describes various public health issues, such as community water fluoridation, active transportation, food access and affordable housing, that can be influenced by municipal planning, programs and policies. Suggestions for action that local government can take on these issues are also provided. The election information is also available on the health unit’s website at, for residents interested in exploring these issues with their local candidates.

Recognition program for municipal alcohol policies

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is working on some programs to recognize municipalities that have implemented new or improved alcohol policies. Joyce Fox, the health unit’s director of healthy living service, explained that the province has eased many of its rules related to sale and consumption of alcohol. This makes it more important to encourage local municipalities to create their own policies in an effort to ensure that the sale and offering of alcohol don’t generate over-consumption and the illness, violence and social disruption that result, she said. The new programs will use letters of commendation from the Medical Officer of Health recognizing municipalities that have shown leadership in reducing harms related to alcohol. Various news and social media tools will also be used to spread the news farther.

Provincial immunization database goes online

After years of developing software and building a provincial launch, local immunization records will now be part of the Panorama system. Clinical service director Colleen Nisbet said the system will do away with paper records that were time consuming and created difficulties in sharing information between health authorities. It will also help reduce vaccine waste, and assist in coordinating efforts to reduce vaccine preventable diseases. Panorama’s digital databases will store information about vaccine inventories, data from school immunization programs and personal immunization records across Ontario. For families that have moved within the province, there will be much quicker transfer of their immunization information to their new health unit. Nisbet underscored the scope of the program by stating that to date, some 80 million records have been transferred from older systems to the new databases. So far, she said, the system is “working fantastically.”

News releases are stored here dating back to spring 2005. Earlier news releases are maintained in an archive and can be retrieved by calling the health unit during business hours.

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