May 16th, 2019

Merger of public health units puts Waterloo families at risk

QUEEN’S PARK — Catherine Fife, NDP MPP for Waterloo, said Doug Ford is putting Waterloo families at risk by taking away its local public health unit and replacing it with a massive, less resourced regional public health unit.

The Ford Conservatives are planning to merge the Region of Waterloo Public Health Unit with the public health units in Peel and Halton regions, as well as in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph. That means just one public health unit will serve three million people, spread over a large geographic area.

“Public health units keep our families healthy and safe by performing vital work like inspecting day cares and restaurants, managing disease outbreaks, and delivering vaccination programs. We know that for every dollar invested in immunization, the savings to the health care system amounts to $45,” said Fife. “It’s important for these programs and services to be accessible to protect our families from food poisoning, outbreaks like measles or SARS and unsafe conditions in child care centres.

“It’s irresponsible for the Ford Conservatives to make cuts to public health at a time when hospitals are overcrowded, a record number of people are dying from opioid overdoses and measles cases have been reported in Toronto. Having a strong local public health unit keeps our families healthy and safe, and out of hospitals. We should be doing more to support public health units in our communities, not less.”

The Ford Conservatives are cutting the number of public health units in Ontario to just 10, down from 35. The massive region Waterloo will now be lumped in with includes Wellington, Dufferin, Guelph, Halton, and Peel.