The Boards of Health for Chatham-Kent Public Health (CKPH) and Lambton Public Health (LPH) are moving forward with a process to explore the opportunities and impacts of a voluntary merger in the communities they serve.
In August 2023, the Ministry of Health announced plans to strengthen the public health sector by offering one-time funding, resources, and supports to local public health agencies that decide to voluntarily merge. The province has indicated as part of one-time funding that mergers would need to be implemented by January 1, 2025.
“We have counted on Public Health and its skilled workforce to protect and promote health through daily routine programs and services and during extreme situations that pose a significant health risk to our communities,” said Brock McGregor, Chair for Chatham-Kent Public Health’s Board of Health. “Exploring opportunities under the new provincial landscape for public health is important to possibly resolve some of the long-standing capacity challenges facing the sector and aligning with new funding commitments that are proposed by the province for 2026.”
Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, there are currently 34 boards of health in Ontario, each with a responsibility to deliver programs and services set out in the Ontario Public Health Standards to promote and protect the health of individuals in their service areas. These programs and services must consider local contexts and needs, to support optimal health for all with a special focus on those at greater risk of poor health outcomes.
“It is our responsibility to investigate these transformative changes outlined in the Ministry’s plan for Strengthening Public Health which includes voluntary mergers of existing public health units and a review of local public health roles and responsibilities,” said Kevin Marriott, Chair for Lambton County’s Board of Health. “Existing partnerships currently exist among Lambton and Kent counties for shared school board districts under the Lambton-Kent District School Board and St. Clair Catholic District School Board, and a shared neighbouring First Nations community with Walpole Island.”
As the process proceeds, both CKPH and LPH will provide updates when they become available.
For more information about the upcoming provincial changes to the public health system:
Ontario Investing in a Stronger Public Health Sector, Ministry of Health
Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, Ministry of Health
Strengthening Public Health, Outcomes and Objectives to Support Voluntary Mergers, Ministry of Health
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Manager, Corporate Communications
Lambton Public Health
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