Board of Health Meeting Summary – April 19, 2018
Leeds, Grenville, Lanark Indigenous Peoples
About 6,000 residents of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville reported on the 2016 census that they are First Nations, Metis or Inuit. As part of the truth and reconciliation process across Canada, many organizations are recognizing the traditional or treaty territories of Indigenous peoples at the start of their meetings. The Board of Health will begin using the following land acknowledgement statement at the start of each Board meeting:
Brockville and Smiths Falls (when using videoconferencing) is/are located on the traditional territory of Indigenous peoples dating back countless generations. We would like to show our respect for their contributions and recognize the role of treaty making in what is now Ontario. Hundreds of years after the first treaties were signed, they are still relevant today.
Reduction of Smoking Depictions in Movies
Movies are one of the last places where tobacco use can be promoted, and continues to provide misleading messages about smoking among young people. With such clear evidence of the impact of on-screen tobacco use on youth smoking rates, the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies has been working with Ontario MPP’s to introduce legislation to reduce the exposure of young people to smoking in movies. The Board of Health endorsed the recommendations of the Coalition.
MPP Candidates Meetings
Planning is underway for two meetings during the latter part of May 2018 – one in Smiths Falls for the Lanark MPP candidates and one in Brockville for the Leeds-Grenville MPP candidates – to provide an opportunity for our health partners to speak to the MPP candidates about important health issues in our community, including the priority areas identified by the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa).
Following a three year journey, the Health Unit has been awarded the Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) designation by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. We are one of 14 organizations that will be designated this year as part of the 5th cohort. Designation as an RNAO BPSO validates the excellent work that all staff at the Health Unit performs for our community.
We are the beneficiaries of the increased knowledge and skills staff has gained with Program Planning, Evaluation, Evidence-Informed Decision-Making, Research, Knowledge Exchange, and Communication. By continuing this work post-designation through purposeful dissemination activities, the Health Unit is also building a foundation for integrating the client voice into program and service planning.
The Municipal Drug Strategies Committee of Leeds and Thousand Islands, Gananoque and Rideau Lakes held a very successful community meeting on what the community can do to respond to the challenges posed by the upcoming legalization of cannabis with a focus on youth on April 5, 2018 at Gananoque Intermediate Secondary School. The Health Unit presentation outlined how common cannabis use is now, its serious impact on the developing brain, and guidelines for community action. Michael DeVillaer, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, presented a thorough policy analysis of the complexities surrounding cannabis legalization in Canada. Heather D’Alessio, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, provided the youth perspective on cannabis use, prevention and harm reduction.
A detailed report on reported Lyme Disease in our region prepared by our epidemiologist John Cunningham suggests that the four fold increase in reported cases from 2016 to 2017 is due to an expansion of the geographic range of ticks to most of our region, and the increased survival of the ticks in the nymph form in the summer due to the heavy precipitation. The nymph is very tiny and is easily missed thus increasing the risk of infection if the tick carries the bacteria causing Lyme Disease and passes it to the individual who is bitten.
The Board received a report on the recent changes to the Ontario School Pupils Act. Parents who would like to sign an affidavit that they don’t want their child immunized against any of the required diseases must now attend an education session prepared by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and given by the local public health unit. Several education sessions have been given this year and all have gone well.