09/08/2015



Public health services are primarily cost shared as a 75% provincial and 25% municipal responsibility with some programs 100% provincially funded. The stated purpose of the review was to look at how provincial funding to public health programs and services could be made more equitable, transparent, and accountable. A Funding Review Working Group was struck in 2010 made up of representatives from the public health sector and included an AMO representative. The Working Group’s mandate was to: investigate the current status of public health funding; advise the Ministry on a future public health funding model; and, advise the Ministry on principles that could guide the implementation of a future funding model.

The Ministry has released the Final Report of the Funding Review Working Group. The Ministry has indicated that it has accepted the report and recommendations. As a next step, a new public health funding model for mandatory programs will be implemented. Mandatory programs include those required to meet the Ontario Public Health Standards such as food safety and infectious disease control.

Further, the Ministry announced new information on how they will allocate funds this year. $11 million (or 2%) of growth funding will be distributed proportionately to the public health units that have not reached their share based on the new model. The base funding of other public health units that are currently above their model-based share for mandatory programs will not be reduced. However, it is not yet clear what impacts this will bring to these health units whose funding is basically capped. Specific provincial funding approvals for 2015 will be announced shortly.

The Ministry announcement raises concerns about the timing of the implementation of a new model within the current fiscal year. AMO will be monitoring the situation. AMO will also continue to raise the need for more public health funding. This is needed to address annual inflationary pressures as well to meet the requirements of the Ontario Public Health Standards.

In related news, the Ministry has also announced that it will be undertaking a review of the Ontario Public Health Standards starting this year. AMO will engage the Ministry about this review.