New eastern-Ontario health unit could to swallow up local units
As efforts continue by the Ontario government to reduce the number of public health units in Ontario from 35 to 10 units, there are concerns that local health units in Eastern Ontario could be swallowed into a single unit based in Ottawa.
The Ottawa Sun reports that Ottawa Councillor Keith Egli, chairman of Ottawa Public Health, has learned from the provincial government that the new ‘Region 7’ health unit would serve more than 1.6 million people and cover almost 29,000 square kilometres.
The Councillor says information from the province suggests the new unit would include Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, Frontenac, Prescott-Russell, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Renfrew, Lennox and Addington and the cities of Kingston and Cornwall.
While Health Minister Christine Elliott says no final decision on boundaries has been made, Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle told the paper that he fears smaller health units like his will get lost in a larger agency, or lose community-specific programs.
The PCs will also be changing the funding structure. The province has paid 75 per cent of local public health programs, but the rate is slated to fall to 60 per cent in the next three years with the difference coming mostly from property taxes.
The province says nothing is yet set in stone and consultations on the changes will continue.
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