Local officials are frustrated with the provincial government’s plan to amalgamate Public Health Units across the province.

CK Public Health GM April Rietdyk speaking to municipal council, May 13, 2019.

Chatham-Kent Board of Health Chair Joe Faas says by blending several Public Health Units together, Chatham-Kent will lose its autonomy.

“The partnerships that we’ve made with different groups, we’ve worked closely with them, they support us and we support them in promoting public health,” Faas says. “For every dollar we spend in public health, we save the health system $16.”

The Ford Government plans to merge Chatham-Kent’s unit with Windsor-Essex, Sarnia-Lambton, Middlesex-London, Elgin-St. Thomas, and Oxford, which represents nearly 1.3 million people.

Faas says this year alone, the local Public Health Unit will see a $200,000 shortfall as the government reduces its cost-sharing arrangement from 70% provincial/30% municipal, including programs that had been entirely funded at the provincial level.

Public Health says by 2020, the municipal share of funding will balloon to $900,000.