Board of Health Update – February 2019

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Today, the Hastings Prince Edward Board of Health held its monthly meeting for February, 2019. As a result of the 2018 Municipal Election, several new board members were welcomed to the Hastings Prince Edward Board of Health (HPEPH). Jo-Anne Albert was elected as the Chair of the Board, and Douglas Lafreniere was elected as Vice Chair.

2019 Board of Health Members

County of Hastings
Jo-Anne Albert, Mayor of the Municipality of Tweed (Returning) – Chair
Jan O’Neill, Mayor of the Municipality of Marmora and Lake

County of  Prince Edward

Andreas Bolik, Councillor
Stewart Bailey, Councillor

City of Belleville                     

Sean Kelly, Councillor
Bill Sandison, Councillor

City of Quinte West              

Michael Kotsovos, Councillor (Returning)
Terry Cassidy, Councillor

Provincial Appointees          

Dr. Craig Ervine (Returning)
Deborah Goulden (Returning)
Prof. Douglas Lafreniere (Returning) – Vice Chair
Joy Martin (Returning)

The experience of returning Board members, paired with the new perspective and diverse experience of new members will contribute to ongoing leadership at HPEPH and the effective implementation of the HPEPH Strategic Plan.

2019 Budget Addresses Strategic Directions and Ministry Requirements:

The Board of Health approved the 2019 Operating Budget, which supports the HPEPH mission of helping people become as healthy as they can be. The Budget reflects ongoing efforts to critically review and assess strategic and operational requirements, ensuring resources are best aligned to meet organizational needs and respond to community service requirements. A key goal for 2019 was the reduction of discretionary costs wherever possible in order to reinvest in staff positions that will help support HPEPH strategic priorities. The 2019 budget anticipates no additional increase in Ministry funding, and includes a 1.5% increase in municipal levies in 2019.

Benefits of Public Health Reinforced at Provincial Budget Consultations

Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health, shared his experience presenting at 2019 Provincial Budget Consultations. Through this process, Dr. Oglaza reinforced the tremendous value of maintaining a strong provincial investment in public health services. Instead of reacting to illness or injury, public health works to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of disease, and works to improve the quality of life and promote healthy communities. Investment in this preventive approach reduces current and future demands on the cost of the health care system, including visits to doctors, emergency departments, and hospitals.

New Canada’s Food Guide Promotes Whole Foods and Mindful Eating

Dr. Oglaza provided an overview of the new Canada’s Food Guide, which was released by Health Canada in January. The new guide is based on best available evidence related to nutrition and health, as well as consultation with the public and stakeholders. The Guide recommends mindful eating, paying attention to feelings of hunger and fullness, and provides a visual of recommended proportions of fruit and vegetables, protein, and whole grains. The Guide is intended to provide guidance to the general public about a way of eating that will provide them with the nutrients they need to maintain good health. Individuals with certain health issues may benefit from other dietary approaches. However, by promoting whole and unprocessed foods, the guide offers easy to understand recommendations that are flexible enough to accommodate a variety of dietary preferences.  HPEPH staff are working to integrate the new Guide recommendations into ongoing efforts to support healthy eating within our community.

Efforts Continue to Prevent Disease through Vaccinations

Bill Sherlock, Program Manager, provided an update on HPEPH’s efforts to prevent disease through vaccination.  While only one institutional influenza outbreak has been confirmed so far this season, twelve other outbreaks related to other respiratory illnesses have been reported. Efforts have continued to ensure all students in HPEC have up to date immunizations, or have filed an exemption. This January, 2,716 notices were provided to students with out of date immunization records. Students who have not provided an updated immunization record or valid exemption to HPEPH by April 12 will be suspended from school. All students and caregivers can update their immunization records online by using the new ICON system.