CK Public Health examining merger

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A voluntary merger between Chatham-Kent Public Health and Lambton Public Health may be in the wings.

According to a media release from the municipality, officials are currently exploring the idea of joining the two organizations.

The announcement comes on the heels of an August 2023 announcement by the province that funding will be allocated to public health boards that voluntarily merge. One-time funding and supports will be offered to health boards that complete the measure by January 2025.

Brock McGregor, CKPH board chair, said that exploring opportunities is important to “possibly resolve some of the long-standing capacity challenges facing the sector and aligning with new funding commitments that are proposed by Ontario for 2026.

“We have counted on public health and its skilled workforce to protect and promote health through daily routine programs and services and during extreme situations that pose a significant health risk to our communities,” McGregor said.

There are currently 34 boards of health in the province, all mandated to promote and protect the health of individuals in their service areas.

Kevin Marriott, chair of Lambton County’s board of health, said existing partnerships, such as the shared public and Catholic school boards and the shared First Nations reserve at Walpole Island, are already in place.

“It is our responsibility to investigate these transformative changes outlined in the ministry’s plan for (the proposed) Strengthening Public Health, which includes voluntary mergers of existing public health units and a review of local public health roles and responsibilities,” Marriott said.

Officials will update the public as more information becomes available.

 

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