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Calls for Investing in Healthy Workplaces Within Ontario Public Health Units

(LINDSAY) – The local Health Unit is calling on its counterparts across the province to implement strategies that promote and protect the mental health of public health workers.

At its March 16 meeting, the Board of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit endorsed a resolution that all Ontario public health units commit to implementing comprehensive workplace health strategies to address the psychological health and safety of its employees. The resolution will be presented at the 2017 Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) annual general meeting taking place in June.

Lisa van der Vinne, Workplace Health Liaison with the HKPR District Health Unit, presented the draft resolution to the Board and told members that one in five Canadians live with mental illness in any given year, and that approximately 21.4 per cent of the working population in Canada currently experience mental health problems and illness. By making mental and psychological health a priority, van der Vinne says that public health units can become leaders for other employers throughout the province.

“Given the ample evidence indicating that a healthy workplace is critical to both organizational and employee well-being, it’s time for all Ontario workplaces, including public health units, to take the necessary steps to provide a psychologically healthy and safe environment for their employees,” she said.

The time is right for implementation, van der Vinne added, as the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is available to employers free of charge until 2018. The Standard, which was launched in 2013, contains free tools and resources that are available to guide and support employers.

MOH Updates

The Medical Officer of Health provided updates on the following topics:

Public Sector Salary Disclosure – The Health Unit reported 10 employees who earned over $100,000 in 2016, the same as in 2015. A media release was issued on March 31, the day the list became publicly available.

Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) - The Health Unit received and responded to two requests under PHIPA in 2016, as compared to five requests in 2015. The Health Unit also received and responded to six requests under MFIPPA, which was one more than the previous year.

Traffic Calming Demonstration in Haliburton – Health Unit staff, as members of Communities in Action, participated in a traffic calming demonstration in Haliburton to determine if design strategies would lessen the impact of motor vehicle traffic to make an environment better for pedestrians and people using other modes of transportation. The demonstration took place in the fall, and information was presented to the Dysart et al Council in December 2016.


Modernization of Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) and Ontario Public Health Organizational Standards (OPHOS):

Received for information, a presentation by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, and members of the Health Unit’s management team, on the draft modernized Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) recently released by the province. In her presentation, Dr. Noseworthy illustrated the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care initiatives related to public health that began with the Patients First proposal and include the modernization of the Ontario Public Health Standards and the Ontario Public Health Organizational Standards, two of the main documents that guide the work of the province’s 36 health units. The consultation document on the proposed changes to the OPHS was released in February and health units have been asked to provide comments on the implementation and operationalization of the revised standards by mid-April.

Various directors and managers of the Health Unit’s programs provided an overview of how the modernized OPHS programs and services have changed and, what, if any impact those changes will have on HKPR’s program delivery. In particular, the Patients First Act requires health units to forge a formal relationship with the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) in the area of population health assessment. In the modernized OPHS, new standards are outlined regarding Health Equity and Effective Public Health Practice, the latter of which has an increased emphasis on quality and transparency, including the requirement for public disclosure of all inspection results.

Professional Profile Video:

Received for information, a professional profile video highlighting the variety of work completed by Public Health Inspectors. The videos, produced by the Health Unit’s Communication Services team, is part of a series of videos designed to showcase the work of the different Health Unit staff to increase awareness of the services provided by the Health Unit. The video is available on the Health Unit’s YouTube channel ( and through its website (

New Business

Quarterly Report:

Received for information, the 2016 Q4 Board of Health Quarterly Report. The report outlines the requirements and accomplishments of the Health Unit in the final quarter of the previous year.

Policies and Procedures:

Approved, a series of policies and procedures governing network backup requirements and the approval and posting of terms of reference for interdepartmental committees.


Received for information, the reappointment of provincial appointee Cammie Jaquays. Ms. Jaquays’ appointment is in effect until February 2020.

Next Meeting

The next Board of Health meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 20, at 10 am in the Health Unit’s Port Hope office.

For media inquiries, contact:

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100,

or Chandra Tremblay, Manager of Communication Services, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100.

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«February 2019»