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Board Orientation Manual

Please accept a warm welcome to the Board of Health 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.

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.

alPHa- Association of Local Public Health Agencies
alPHa – Boards of Health Shared Resources 
alPHa - Orientation Manual for Boards of Health 
alPHa – Risk Management for Health Units
alPHa – Governance Toolkit


alPHa Primer: Public Health Matters video and infographic

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 34 boards of health, which include assessment and surveillance, health promotion and policy development, disease and injury prevention, and health protection.

Municipal Act 
The purpose of this Act, pertaining to public health, grants municipalities power to pass bylaws on matters such as health, safety, and well-being of the area. It also provides guidance to boards of health on the operation of its meetings.

Excellent Care of All Act 

The Excellent Care of All Act recognizes "that a high quality health care system is one that is accessible, appropriate, effective, efficient, equitable, integrated, patient centered, population health focused and safe"

Obligations of a Board of Health under the Municipal Act, 2001 (Revised 2021)

Risk Management for Health Units

ByLaw Number

Name of ByLaw

Date of Approval / Most Recent Update

NO. 1

A bylaw relating to the transaction of the activities and affairs of Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (the “Corporation”)

September 20, 2023

Policy Number

 Name of Policy 

Date of Approval-Most Recent Update

 BOH101Meeting Transparency and Confidentiality February 20, 2019
 BOH102Remote Participation by Directors February 1, 2023
 BOH103Director Code of Conduct February 20, 2019
 BOH104Director Confidentiality  February 20, 2019
 BOH105Conflicts of Interest September 20, 2023
 BOH106Position Description - Director of the Corporation  February 20, 2019
 BOH107Board and Committee Meeting Attendance  February 20, 2019
 BOH108Agenda Setting  February 20, 2019
 BOH109Board Chair and Vice-Chair Selection, Role and Board Spokesperson  February 20, 2019
 BOH110Strategic Planning and Stakeholder Relations February 20, 2019
 BOH111Performance Policy February 20, 2019
 BOH112Director Remuneration and Expenses  February 20, 2019
 BOH113Board Orientation and Continuing Education September 20, 2023
 BOH115Stakeholders Relations and Partnership Building September 20, 2023
 BOH116Designation of Senior Leadership Positions February 20, 2019
 BOH117Delegation of Duties of the Medical Officer of Health February 20, 2019
 Financial, Operational, Oversight and Statutory Policies
 BOH118Budget and Expenditure September 20, 2023
 BOH119Banking, Borrowing and Investment September 20, 2023
 BOH120Sale of Other Disposition of Land September 20, 2023
 BOH121Delegation of Authority and Execution of Agreements February 20, 2019
 BOH122Delivery of Programs and Services  September 20, 2023
 BOH123Employee Hiring February 20, 2019
 BOH124Client Service Standard February 20, 2019
 BOH125Risk Management September 20, 2023
 BOH126Privacy and Security, Data Collection and Records Management February 20, 2019
 BOH127Preparation and Delivery Reports and Information September 20, 2023
 BOH128Leasing Policy February 20, 2019


Since 2020 COVID-19 has remained a central focus for Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. 

Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy

The Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy is a collaborative partnership formed to address the growing crisis of opioid use and drug overdoses in our region. For the past few years, the membership has provided updates to the original 2018 Action Plan with the Final Report Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy (SMOS) A Report on Actions (2018-2021) released in 2022. With the great need that exists there is still much progress to be made on many of the Simcoe Muskoka opioid strategy goals; this membership has committed to continue the activities and address new priorities as they emerge in this region.

Climate Change

Climate change is causing a wide range of impacts on physical and mental health related to extreme weather, extreme temperature, air quality, infectious diseases, water and food impacts, ultraviolet radiation, degraded determinants of health and expanding inequities. Simultaneously, addressing climate change with a health and equity lens presents enormous opportunities for our communities to be healthy and thriving. This requires intersectoral collaboration and strong leadership from Public Health authorities, as described by Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Report – Mobilizing Public Health Action on Climate Change in Canada. This includes local analysis and impact in Simcoe-Muskoka (A Changing Climate: Assessing health impacts & vulnerabilities due to climate change within Simcoe Muskoka) and National climate-health assessments which highlight the growing impact in our communities and abroad.  

Health Equity  

Many of the causes of poor health and health inequities relate to the social, physical and environmental conditions around us. These are the social determinants of health, and they include things like income, education, employment, food, housing and racism. These determinants influence our health and the opportunities we have to be healthy. The health unit is one of many partners in the community taking action to address the social determinants of health to reduce health inequities.

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 Inspection Report Disclosure
    Inspection Connection is designed to provide the public with information about inspections at food premises, child care, recreational water facilities, recreational camps, personal service settings and drinking water systems in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka. A summary of routine, follow up and complaint inspection reports, in addition to any enforcement related activity, are available to view online at and are posted onsite at the facility with a certificate of inspection (green sign).  

Oral Health

Oral health care is important at every age. Poor oral health effects can lead to many public health issues. The health unit supports publicly funded dental programs, and provides dental services to Ontario residents to children on the Healthy Smiles Ontario program, as well as seniors on the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. Services are offered at oral health clinics in Barrie and Gravenhurst, as well as dental screenings in clinics and schools throughout our community.


alPHa Report: Public Health Resilience in Ontario

This Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) report from January 2022 examines clearing the backlog, resuming routine programs, and maintaining an effective COVID-19 response in Ontario public health units.

alPHa - Review of Board of Health Liability, 2018(PowerPoint Presentation, February 21st 2019)

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Annual Report

The CMOH 2022 Annual Report Being Read: Ensuring Public Health Preparedness for Infectious Outbreaks and Pandemics examines the status of Ontario's unpreparedness for the COVID-19 outbreak and the impact the last three years of the pandemic has had on individuals, families, communities and society.  It also looks at the lessons learned from the COVID-19 and past pandemics and what we must do to be ready for the next one.

SMDHU Annual Report

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