NDP health critic and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas said Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s plans to cut the number of northern public health units to just two — down from nine — is dangerous to the health and safety of northerners.
By collapsing all northern health units down to two, it will force each health unit to cover thousands of kilometers and hundreds of thousands of people, in communities with very different public health needs.
“Public health units operate in community, delivering vaccination programs, inspecting drinking water supplies, and stepping in when there's an outbreak to identify, contain and stop the spread of illness and disease,” said Gélinas, in a press release.
“These callous cuts spread public health units thin — with less money to protect more people over a more vast territory. Public health units are working behind the scenes every day to keep our families safe and healthy. Cutting their work puts people at risk."
The Ontario government's plan is to cut Ontario’s 35 public health unit to just 10. In Northern Ontario, Ford’s plan would leave two public health units left to service all of Northern Ontario:
- Region 9: Nipissing (part of Renfrew), Muskoka (part of Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit), North Bay Parry Sound, Sudbury, Algoma, Timiskaming, Porcupine
- Region 10: Thunder Bay, Northwestern Health Unit