05/04/2006

Dr. Susan Tamblyn, Chair of the Public Health Capacity Review Committee and Vice-Chair Brian Hyndman, today released the Final Report of the Capacity Review Committee (CRC).
The CRC is an arms length committee that has put forward fifty recommendations in five key areas for public health renewal to the Government. 

This Report is a report to the Government. It does not reflect government decisions or changes to public health policy in Ontario. 

The CRC was established as a part of the Government’s Operation Health Protection (OHP): a three-year action plan that was announced by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in June 2004. It was developed in response to recommendations from the final Report of the Expert Panel on SARS and Infectious Disease Control (Walker Panel) and the first Interim Campbell Report, both of which examined the impact of the SARS crisis on Ontario’s health care system. In November 2005, the CRC released its interim report; Revitalizing Ontario’s Public Health Capacity: a discussion of issues and options.

Today’s Report contains recommendations in the following five areas: health and human resources, accountability, governance and structure, funding and research and knowledge.

Key highlights and areas of interest for municipalities include:

  • Governance: moving to a consistent governance structure province wide. Autonomous locally based Boards of Health should govern public health units. Representation would include 8 to 14 members with municipal representation being 50 percent of the board. 
  • Funding: the Report recommends stable and predictable funding with a budget process that allows for approved annual budgets within a 3-year rolling forecast and 10 year rolling forecasts for capital costs. The Report also recommends establishing cost-shared operating reserves of up to 3% of annual operating budgets.
  • Amalgamation of Health Units: To address ongoing capacity issues in public health units, the Report recommends the amalgamation of health units from 36 to 25 units. It is recommended that should amalgamations proceed, the Province is to fund 100% of transition costs. Amalgamations have been coordinated with the boundaries of the Local Health Integration Networks.
The Report emphasizes the role of the Province in living up to its funding and leadership responsibilities in public health which includes reaffirming the direction of shifts in the cost share of funding for public health between municipalities and the Province. While the cost-share will achieve the 75-25 split by 2007, the Report does broach the issue of 100% provincial funding. It is important to note that all of the recommendations and the future structure and capacity of public health in Ontario would accommodate 100% provincial funding.

AMO strongly believes that the funding of public health is a key component to a successful system and that is why public health should be fully funded by the Province. 

AMO will review the recommendations contained in the Report, including a review by the AMO Public Health Task Force, before considering any response to the Report.