October 10, 2019

The Minister of Health has announced that Jim Pine is the newly appointed Advisor to lead consultations on the future of Public Health and Emergency Health Services. The 2019 provincial Budget stated that the government is seeking to modernize municipal Public Health and Emergency Health Services. This generated much concern and discussion in the municipal sector.

At the AMO Conference in August, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Christine Elliott, said that a renewed consultation with partner municipalities would occur and that an expert advisor would support this engagement. The Advisor’s role is to facilitate discussions between the Ministry of Health, AMO and public health, emergency health, and municipal stakeholders.

Jim Pine is the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the County of Hastings. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Given his extensive municipal background, AMO is pleased with Minister Elliott’s choice. Jim is well-known and well-respected in the municipal sector. AMO looks forward to working with him in his new role along with the government to get this right.

Throughout the consultations, AMO will bring forward practical solutions that work best for municipal residents and municipal governments to fix what needs fixing and preserve what works well. We understand that the province is entering this consultative process openly, transparently and without pre-determined outcomes. They have committed to listening to municipal leaders, the public health and emergency health services sectors, and others to inform the design and implementation of reform to public health and emergency health services.  

AMO, with the assistance of our Public Health Technical Working Group, has examined the Auditor General’s 2017 recommendations to seek to address the identified problems from her audit on chronic disease prevention. Regarding Emergency Health Services, it is our advice that dispatch communications improvements must be made first, before any discussion on potentially restructuring the paramedic services happens. We understand the government has heard our and our members’ advice on these significant matters.  

AMO is providing advice to the Advisor and the Ministry of Health on how best to proceed with constructive consultations. We are hopeful that we, our members and our partners will learn more about this consultation process shortly, starting with the official launch of the consultations.