The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will disband by April 1, 2020, as part of the recent announcement that Ontario’s 35 health units will be reduced to 10.
The Simcoe County region’s health unit will be aligning with York Region, the health unit confirmed.
The Muskoka portion of the health unit will be aligning with North Bay, Parry Sound, Sudbury, Algoma, Timiskaming, Porcupine and a portion of Renfrew, the health unit said.
“(The province) also indicated they expect us to continue to provide a full range of services,” the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health, Charles Gardner, said. “They are changing the funding formula so there will be the expectation of more funding to come from our municipalities as the province gives less.”
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According to Gardner, when the Simcoe Muskoka health unit disbands on April 1, its resources, staff and facilities will be transferred to the new health boards.
“Up until the end of March, we’ll strive to maintain our programs,” Gardner said. “Certainly, we give priority to things such as our opioid strategy, which was identified as a priority for our board of health.”
After April 1, the determination of priorities will rest with the new boards of health for the new regional public health entities, he added.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s next board meeting will take place Wednesday morning.
“One of the things they will need to look at is how do they give feedback to the province about this,” Gardner said. “Although they’ve come forward with this information to us, there’s still some possibility of changing it.”
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