As part of the 2019 Ontario Budget, the province announced that public health will be restructured from 35 local health units into 10 regional health entities. In a recent communication from Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, David Williams, BOH Chairs and MOHs were advised that the province intends to revise the current cost-sharing model that is in place for Public Health, retroactively to April 1, 2019.
The Ministry has indicated they intend to work together with health units as we transition to Regional Public Health Entities (RHPEs). They have also emphasized that there will continue to be opportunities for additional discussion with Medical Officers of Health (MOH) and Boards of Health (BOH) to refine changes proposed.
Late last week, the Ministry shared proposed geographical boundaries with the health unit and these very different than what they had expected. Proposed geographical boundaries for the new RHPEs envision grouping Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) together with Peterborough, Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge and Durham Region Public Health.
Fortunately, the Ministry has indicated that they are open to suggestions to refine proposed geographical regions. The health unit is working with neighbouring public health units to reinforce the value of maintaining our current local partnerships. The executive team at the health unit is also very optimistic that their suggestions will be positively received by the Ministry.
Any changes to geographical boundaries require updates to the regulations within the Health Protection and Health Promotion Act. The Ministry has advised that they hope these changes in legislation can be finalized by the spring of 2020, with the intent that Boards for the new RHPEs will be in place by April 1, 2020.