Board of Health Meeting Summary – February 15, 2018
2018 Annual Service Plan and Funding Requests to the MOHLTC
For the first time, all Public Health Units must submit an Annual Service Plan for each of the 11 Standards in the new 2018 Ontario Public Health Standards. The Board of Health reviewed all the Standards at the January and February Board meetings. The plans will be posted shortly on the Health Unit website so that all municipalities, partners and the public can review them.
The Board of Health approved 10 program requests for additional base funding to respond to the new requirements in the Standards for submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (e.g. quality program, cannabis education, vision screening, health hazard and climate change response). In addition, the Board also approved the submission of 10 requests for one time funding (e.g. new vaccine fridge, funding for three training programs, nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation, and electronic medical record purchase). This is the first time since 2014 that the Ministry has advised that they will consider increases to base funding in addition to one time requests contingent on the availability of funds.
alPHa Election Priorities
The Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) which represents Ontario’s 36 Public Health Units and their Boards has identified five priority areas for MPP candidates to consider to improve the health of Ontarians:
- Commitment to a Tobacco End-Game in Ontario – That the Ontario government shift the focus from tobacco control to a future that is free from commercial tobacco, and commit to a target of less than 5% tobacco use by 2035.
- Oral Health for Adults in Ontario – That the Ontario government commit to a provincially funded oral health program for low income adults and seniors before 2025.
- Commitment to a Universal Pharmacare Program – That the government move forward with the development and implementation of a universal pharmacare program for all Ontarians.
- Public Health Approach to Cannabis – That the Ontario government fund a comprehensive public health approach to cannabis legislation, regulation, restrictions of access, education and harm reduction in Ontario; align regulatory restrictions on cannabis with those of tobacco as provided in the Smoke free Ontario Act; and support increasing the minimum age of access to cannabis to 21 in Ontario.
- Opioid Strategy Action Plan – That the Ontario government develop a funded, comprehensive, multifaceted action plan for the Ontario Opioid Strategy, including education, harm reduction and treatment with targets, deliverables, timelines and an evaluation component that is supported by regular communication to key stakeholders and partners, such as public health units.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced that as of January 29, 2018, the Health Unit can now provide naloxone to municipal fire and police services in our region that meet the criteria for the program. A presentation was made to Lanark County Council on February 14, 2018 and planning is underway for a presentation at the United Counties Joint Services Committee to outline the requirements for the program for each municipality, and how the Health Unit can assist with this implementation.
The number of individuals diagnosed with Lyme Disease who were reported to the Health Unit increased dramatically in 2017 from 51 cases in 2016 to 203 probable and confirmed cases in 2017. Ticks bite from April to July (nymphs) and then from October to November (adult females). This period was very dry in 2016 and then very wet in 2017. Ticks become desiccated and die in dry weather, and survive longer in wet weather. We are doing further analysis to determine if ticks have penetrated into new areas or if the prevalence of the bacteria among the ticks has increased. A public information campaign will be conducted in early April to notify people of the risk of tick bites, how to prevent bites, and the importance of regular tick checks after being outside, and the early recognition of symptoms for treatment.
The two Power Up Youth Summits held in 2017 provided an opportunity for youth across Lanark, Leeds and Grenville to organize and facilitate a forum to enhance youth connections across the counties, discuss civic engagement opportunities, and provide a safe place for youth voices to be recognized, respected and valued.