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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  News South Western Public Health New Strategic Plan


by Doug Harvey


South Western Public Health brought before Elgin County Council their General Programs And Related Services Budget for 2019 describing their new strategic plan for the implementation of enhanced Ontario Public Health Standards and Accountability Requirements.

Meeting the challenge of providing needed specific health care needs to area residents through an efficent organization that uses proven program and service delivery models, while public health care funding is being reduced.

Putting emphasis on transparency, accountability, and reporting will result in more frequent collections of data, enhanced value reporting and performance targets, and improved communications.

Increased emphasis on risk management will result in improved ongoing support for the identification, mitigation, monitoring and reporting of risks, while providing a public health response that will meet Ministry protocols and mitigate risks within the community.

Continued collaboration and integration with community partners will address Opioid crisis prevention, assistance with addressing local social determinant of health issues (poverty, transportation, housing, healthy communities), public access to home visiting support, immunization, sexual health services and smoking cessation supports.


Southwestern Public Health will:

  • Lead prevention, promotion, and protection of health
  • Serve as a voice of confidence for health-related matters in the region
  • Identify efficiencies in its program and service delivery
  • Offer comprehensive programs and services
  • Build partnerships and collaborative efforts with other agencies and groups
  • Meet the performance and accountability targets set by the Ministry
  • Monitor health needs in Oxford County, the City of St. Thomas and the County of Elgin, evaluating public health services and implementing continuous quality improvement


The following were considered in the development of this budget.

  • Health equity
    • Almost one-quarter (24.2%) of people living in the SWPH region had less than a high school education, and this rate is higher than Ontario (17.5%).
  • Mental health
    • A higher proportion of women in the SWPH region reported concerns about depression during pregnancy (13.6%) and a history of postpartum depression during pregnancy (5.4%) than in Ontario (7.5% and 2.1%, respectively).
  • Chronic disease
    • The rate of hospitalizations due to cardiovascular diseases was higher in the SWPH region than in Ontario between 2013 and 2017.
  • Substance use
    • From 2015 to 2016, there were higher proportions of adults who were current smokers (daily and occasional) (23.0% versus 18.0%), daily smokers (16.8% versus 12.9%) and former smokers (29.4% versus 24.0%) in the SWPH region compared to Ontario.
  • Injuries
    • Compared to Ontario, people living in the SWPH region had over 2x the rate of unintentional injuries and 1.5x the rate of motor vehicle collisions attributable to alcohol.
    • The rates of emergency department visits for neurotrauma (including traumatic brain injuries, concussions and spinal cord injuries) were higher in the SWPH region compared to Ontario over the last five years (2013 to 2017).
  • Physical activity and healthy weights
    • Youth in Elgin St. Thomas spent less time travelling in active ways (91.6 minutes) in the last seven days compared to both Oxford County (351.5 minutes) and Ontario (227 minutes).
  • Infectious diseases
    • The incidence rate of pertussis (whooping cough) in the SWPH region was higher than Ontario from 2013 to 2016 combined.


General Programs & Related Services - 2019 Cost-Shared Budget Cost in Dollars
Chronic Disease Prevention and Well-Being 884,085
Food Safety 505,600
Healthy Environments 435,575
Healthy Growth and Development 1,054,875
Immunization 297,761
Infectious and Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control 1,678,932
Safe Water 234,317
School Health 2,423,366
Substance Use and Injury Prevention 349,611
Foundational Standards 626,732
Supporting Costs 4,232,504
Small Drinking Water Systems 40,933
Vector Borne Diseases 159,467
TOTAL 12,923,758


100% Provincially Funded Programs - 2019 Budgets Cost in Dollars
Smoke Free Ontario 684,000
Healthy Smiles Ontario 1,008,100
Pre and Post Natal Nurse Practitioner Program 139,000
Healthy Babies Healthy Children 1,653,539
Harm Reduction 300,000
Infectious Diseases Control 389,000
Infection Prevention & Control 180,200
Enhanced Food Safety 50,000
Enhanced Safe Water 31,000
Needle Exchange Program 60,900
Social Determinants of Health Initiative 361,000
Chief Nursing Officer 243,000
Medical Officer of Health Compensation Top-Up 122,000
TOTAL 5,221,739




One-Time Funding Requests - 100% Provincially Funded Cost
Merger Phase II 700,000
Electronic Medical Record Development 861,591
Public Health Inspector Practicum Program 18,325
Needle Exchange Program 89,895
TOTAL 1,669,811


Ontario's public health system delivers value for money, ensuring people remain healthy, can return to health, and contribute fully to their communities. Studies have concluded that:

  • every $1 spent on immunizing children with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine saves $16 in health care costs (Canadian Immunization Guide);
  • every $1 spent on mental health and addictions saves $7 in health costs and $30 dollars in lost productivity and social costs (Every Door Is The Right Door: Towards a Ten Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy);
  • Every $1 invested in tobacco prevention programs saves up to $20 in future health care costs (Building on our Gains, Taking Action Now: Ontario's Tobacco Control Strategy for 2011-2016); and
  • Every $1 spent on early childhood development and health care saves up to $9 in future spending on health, social and justice services (The Chief Public Health Officer's Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2009).

Last Updated: Thursday, 11 April 2019 15:22:19 PM EST

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