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Local Health Unit to Return Sewage System Management Program to Municipalities

(Wilberforce) The local health unit is returning the responsibility for the Sewage System Management Program to local municipalities.

At the October 17 meeting of the Board of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Board members approved a motion to discontinue providing the Sewage System Management Program (Part 8 Program) when current contracts with municipalities expire at the end of December this year.  Under the Part 8 program, the HKPR has contracts with 10 area municipalities and one municipality outside of its area to inspect the installation of newly-constructed septic systems. With the decision, contracts will not be renewed as of December 31, 2013, although short-term contract extensions up to June 30, 2014 may be granted to municipalities, if requested, to allow for the transition of responsibility.

In a presentation to the Board, Environmental Health Director Christopher Beveridge said that health units are not mandated or funded to provide the Program, and with an increase in the number of mandated, funded public health programs required by the province, HKPR can no longer provide the Part 8 program.  Many Ontario health units used to provide the Part 8 Program under the Environmental Protection Act, but when the Program was moved to the Ontario Building Code in 1998, it became the responsibility of municipalities to either do the work themselves or contract it out to another agency, such as health units.

Although the service will no longer be offered by HKPR, Beveridge said that the Health Unit will still be responsible for investigating complaints of faulty systems.

“We would still have the responsibility of investigating complaints under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and will work jointly with the regulatory body that approved the system to resolve issues,” he said.

No staff layoffs are expected as a result of the Board’s decision to eliminate the program, as inspection staff who previously worked in the Part 8 program will be reassigned work within the mandated Health Unit programs.

MOH Updates

Dr. Noseworthy provided the Board with information about provincial initiatives, including an expansion of the student nutrition program as part of the Healthy Kids Strategy, an investment of $2.5 million to provide new breastfeeding supports to moms and babies, the introduction of legislation requiring large chain restaurants to include nutritional information on menus, and the passing of legislation banning anyone under 18 years of age from using a tanning bed.

As well, Dr. Noseworthy provided the following information:

False Security

Through a partnership with the John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes, the Health Unit has been working with youth living in CKL to survey their knowledge about alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs, and energy drinks. Based on the results of the survey, participating youth developed education modules to address misinformation, including the writing and production of a video that has been posted on YouTube. The report on the project, as well as the video, are posted on the Health Unit’s website. The link to the video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B2ux8pf-fc

Walkability Audits in Trent Hills

In partnership with Trent Hills municipal staff, walkability audits were held in September in Hastings, Warkworth and Campbellford. As well, a walkability workshop was held for interested community and business leaders in Trent Hills, with the day focusing on the audit findings, the benefits of walkable communities and priority setting for walkability in the municipality. Based on the success of the audits and workshop, Health Unit staff will continue to work with the municipality to implement walkability promotions and policies in the coming years.

Locally Driven Collaborative Project (September meeting)

Dr. Noseworthy provided an overview of the Locally Driven Collaborative Project (LDCP) on food skills. While the Health Unit is involved in six different LDCPs with Public Health Ontario, this is the only one in which HKPR is acting as the lead health unit. This particular LDCP is working to address the issue of providing food skills to young people.

Influenza Immunization (September meeting)

Dr. Noseworthy updated the Board on the Health Unit’s preparations for this year’s influenza immunization campaign. Last year, the province recruited pharmacists to provide the flu shot to residents and there are more local pharmacists participating this year. Last year, the Health Unit inspected 11 pharmacist fridges in preparation for receiving the vaccine – this year 33 pharmacist fridges have been inspected, as well as 15 other health care providers. Last year, Dr. Noseworthy noted that the number of people coming to Health Unit flu immunization clinics was down, so this year, the clinics have been scaled back with two less clinics being offered across the Health Unit’s geographic area. There are still 15 Health Unit clinics organized, with the majority scheduled early in the season to catch those residents looking to get their flu shots early. As in the past, the Health Unit will keep a list of callers who may have missed the clinics and may offer catch-up clinics later on if there is enough demand.

West Nile Virus (September meeting)

Dr. Noseworthy provided an update on this year’s WNV situation. As of this date, there have been no human WNV cases in the Health Unit’s area, although there was one positive mosquito pool reported in CKL in July. Dr. Noseworthy provided an update on the provincial, national and American numbers as of that date.

Reports

The Healthy Kids Panel Report

Lisa Kaldeway, a Health Promoter in the Health Unit’s Lindsay office, provided an overview of the Healthy Kids Panel report entitled No Time to Wait: The Healthy Kids Strategy. In January 2012, the Ontario Government set a target to reduce childhood obesity by 20 per cent in five years. The multisectoral Healthy Kids Panel was struck to determine the best way to meet that target. From May to December 2012, the panel conducted its work and presented its report to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in March 2013.  In her review, Kaldeway highlighted for the Board of Health the various causes and trends in obesity identified by the panel and the Three-Part Strategy outlined in the report. 

Three-Part Strategy:

1      

Start all kids on the path to health

2.      

Change food environments

3.      

Create healthy communities

Further information regarding “No Time to Wait: The Healthy Kids Strategy” can be found at http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/ministry/publications/reports/healthy_kids/healthy_kids.pdf

DigIn

Public Health Food Worker Megan Stong from the Health Unit’s Haliburton office provided an overview of a new foodskills program called DigIn. The program, offered in partnership with a local gardening business and a community coalition, provides a number of accessible and innovative food skills workshops for area residents. The workshops are held throughout the county under a “learn where you live” theory and provide an opportunity for area residents to learn from other residents about such topics as composting, canning, and planting with heritage seeds. Stong told the Board the program has been both cost-effective and very successful and will continue for 2014 with new food skills sessions planned.

Panorama Implementation (September meeting)

Anne Marie Holt, Manager of Epidemiology and Evaluation and Communicable Disease Control, provided a presentation on the new provincial web-based reporting tool called Panorama that will track immunization, reportable diseases and vaccine inventory. With plans to implement Panorama nationally, work is underway to first implement the immunization module in Ontario, with all health units currently preparing data to incorporate into the new system. The HKPR is expected to go live with the program in March 2014, with all health units to have implemented the program by August 2014.

Operating Statements

Approved, a motion to accept the draft operating statement for the HKPR District Health Unit. As of September 30, 2013, the Health Unit had expenditures of $12, 869,933.

Budget Approval Correspondence (September meeting)

Susan Bickle, Director of Administration and Human Resources, provided a presentation to the Board on the breakdown of the 2013 budget allocation, received in mid-August from the province. After reviewing all the requests and the allocation, Mrs. Bickle showed that the Health Unit was approved for a two percent increase over its 2012 base funding and all of the one-time funding projects were approved, with the understanding the monies be used by the end of December. Accountability Agreements for the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program and General Programs were signed during the summer due to the time requirements of the province.

New Business

Board of Health Appointees

It was announced that Board of Health member and provincial appointee Christine Herrington has had her term extended to November 2016. At the same time, two other provincial appointees to the Board are seeing their terms come to an end. Judith Masters’ term will end in February 2014 and Sandra Jack’s term will end in June 2014.  Mrs. Masters is eligible for reappointment and the Board will support a request for her reappointment.

Next Meeting

The next Board of Health meeting will be held Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 10 am in the Health Unit’s Lindsay office.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100 or

Chandra Tremblay, Manager, Communication Services, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100

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