Annual Report 2018

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Foundations for Health

Message from Dr. Penny Sutcliffe

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

2018 was a foundational year for Public Health Sudbury & Districts. We worked hard to connect with local partners and create collective opportunities for health, and we implemented fundamental changes to public health at both the local and provincial levels.

Thanks to the contributions and input from many stakeholders, clients, staff, and members of the Board of Health, we developed and launched our 2018–2022 Strategic Plan. Our values—humility, trust, and respect—resonate as we continue to work to improve opportunities for health for all. The work of Public Health is foundational to community well-being and prosperity. Our new name and visual identity help draw attention to our efforts and possibly encourage others to connect with Public Health.

Provincially, the release of the Ontario Public Health Standards introduced new requirements, which created opportunities for us to reinforce our programing and enhance our services. Specifically, our deliberate efforts on mental health promotion and the prevention and early identification of mental illness reflect how public health adapts and responds to community needs. The Indigenous Engagement Strategy, developed in strong collaboration with local Indigenous community partners and stakeholders, highlights our commitment to working with others to find our path together toward health.

Several evolving public health priorities present unique and growing challenges for the people of our region and our province. These include for example, responding to the opioid crisis, ending poverty, and addressing climate change. To do this work, we ground ourselves in evidence and effective public health practice. Most importantly, we help surface and understand the needs of people who are most vulnerable and value the perspectives of people with lived experience to inform and improve our service delivery.

I am proud to present the work of Public Health Sudbury & Districts and extend my thanks to our staff for their dedication to promote and protect health in our communities and my gratitude to the Board of Health Chair and members for their steadfast leadership.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe

Message from René Lapierre

Chair, Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts

Last year truly highlighted the collaborative nature of Public Health Sudbury & Districts as being essential in fulfilling our role of keeping individuals and our communities healthy and safe. Our people are our greatest strength—providing vital professional client-centred services, oftentimes behind the scenes.

Together, we can be proud of launching our new Strategic Plan, which will guide our work over the next five years. Public Health consulted with a broad audience, and the plan is crafted to ensure diverse perspectives from staff, clients, and community partners are reflected. Our values of trust, respect, and humility continue to resonate. By working collaboratively with partner agencies from various sectors, our community can trust Public Health to accomplish the mandate approved by the Board of Health and guided by the Strategic Plan.

Comprehensive plans like the new Indigenous Engagement Strategy, result from widespread external partnerships. It’s also important to recognize the collaboration and dynamism that exists internally within Public Health. Our teams work together to respond to the health needs of our community and continually develop opportunities to improve health for everyone.

Our people set us apart, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank Dr. Penny Sutcliffe for her strong leadership. Under her guidance, Public Health Sudbury & Districts never fails to deliver healthy solutions and will continue to rise to the challenges that face us.

I am proud to serve as Board Chair and am pleased to present the 2018 Annual Report.

René Lapierre

Board of Health

Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts

Left to right: Nicole Sykes, Robert Kirwan, Thoma Miedema, James Crispo, Carolyn Thain, Rachel Quesnel (Secretary to the Board of Health), Dr. Penny Sutcliffe (Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer), Paul Vincent Myre, René Lapierre (Chair), Ken Noland, Jeffery Paul Huska (Vice-Chair), Mark Signoretti, Maigan Bailey, Rita Pilon, Janet Bradley, Absent: Monica Loftus

Online immunization reporting

News stories about outbreaks of diseases that are prevented by vaccines reinforce the value of immunizations and the importance of being up-to-date with the immunization schedule. The online reporting and tracking tool—Immunization Connect Ontario—allows users to easily access and update their immunization records. The tool is accessible from anywhere. Six hundred and twenty-six (626) people in our service area used the system to submit 2 877 online entries for immunizations they received through their health care providers, and they accessed 2 072 digital records. Through our own immunization clinics, we provided 17 017 vaccines.

626 clients submitted 2 877 immunization records.


Our free in-person and telephone breastfeeding services are offered to women throughout the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts. For our telephone support program, we train mothers who have experience breastfeeding and match them with clients who are in need. Trained mothers provide convenient support over the phone. Public health nurses also provide a wealth of knowledge and compassion to mothers who call our Health Information Line for breastfeeding support. The line fielded 1 864 calls, and 50% of those were about breastfeeding.

Through our in-person breastfeeding clinics, certified breastfeeding consultants or specially trained nurses help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals. Our clinics in Sudbury and Val Caron helped 1 193 women. We also offer home visits to clients in other parts of our service area.

We supported 1 193 women who came to our breastfeeding clinics in Sudbury and Val Caron.

Family health: building healthy brains

In collaboration with the City of Greater Sudbury, we co-sponsored two workshops on How Early Relationships Build Healthy Brains for Life with guest speaker Dr. Chaya Kulkarni, Director of Infant Mental Health Promotion at the Hospital for Sick Children.

The first workshop was geared to and attended by 177 community partners who work with children. The second was for parents and caregivers. The workshops provided participants information about babies’ brain development, the formation of mental health in the first few years of life and how early mental health affects future outcomes, and the importance of relationships in overall development. In addition, 265 child care sector stakeholders learned about brain development and how risk and protective factors influence long-term health outcomes.

177 community partners and 26 parents attended co-sponsored workshops on How to Build a Healthy Brain, and 265 child care sector stakeholders learned about brain development and how risk and protective factors influence health outcomes.

Community Drug Strategy

We have worked closely with our community partners in Sudbury, Espanola, Manitoulin, and Sudbury East to develop and put into action community drug strategies. These efforts bring together partners to improve the health, safety, and well-being of individuals and communities by working to reduce the range of harms associated with substance misuse and to motivate action to improve health for everyone.

Collectively, our efforts seek to prevent overdoses in the community, promote safe needle disposal, and reduce stigma across the areas we serve. In 2018, the Community Drug Strategy for the City of Greater Sudbury developed awareness raising videos to ask people to challenge their assumptions when it comes to drug misuse and to learn how to safely dispose of needles. Three drug alerts were issued over the year to help prevent overdoses and raise awareness. These alerts were triggered by reports about street drugs potentially containing deadly substances such as fentanyl or carfentanil.

We launched videos about safe needle disposal and reducing stigma around drug use (9 325 combined views), and distributed 998 naloxone kits and 222 refills.

Louise Picard Public Health Research Grant

Since its launch, the Louise Picard Public Health Research Grant has supported 51 projects and provided over $232,000 in funding. In 2018, six research projects received grants.

The grants encourage partnerships between academic and public health researchers to explore topics of mutual interest. Funded by Laurentian University and Public Health Sudbury & Districts, the Grant was established in 2003 as the Public Health Research Initiative and then renamed in 2006 in honour of Dr. Louise Picard’s contributions to innovative partnerships.

Each grant, valued at up to $5,000, is awarded to partnering researchers from Public Health Sudbury & Districts and Laurentian University who are working to address public health issues relevant to local communities. The collaborations provide an opportunity for partners to learn from one another: Public Health staff gain experience to build their research skills, and Laurentian University faculty learn from practitioners and conduct grounded research.

The Louise Picard Public Health Research Grant, a collaboration between Public Health and Laurentian University, funded 6 research projects.

Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System

Measuring and understanding the health of our local populations is one of the first steps toward improving it. The Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System is an ongoing telephone survey run by a group of public health units in Ontario. The survey collects information from our residents about smoking, physical activity, alcohol use, sun safety, injuries, immunization, and more. Collecting this information helps us to better understand the health and health behaviours of our residents. We reached 1 750 area residents in 2018. The data was used to inform 22 reports across 83 indicators of health to help plan our public health programs and services.

The Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) surveyed 1 750 area residents, providing data that informs public health programming.

Blue-green algae

To alert and help keep the public safe, we issued eight water body notifications and two swimming advisories related to blue-green algae blooms. These are also opportunities for us to educate the public about what to do when a bloom is present in a water body.

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are microscopic organisms that can grow in large quantities and form blooms. These organisms are naturally present in our lakes and streams. Some algae produce toxins, and if people or animals are exposed to the toxins in large amounts, there is a potential health risk. Health can be impacted when surface scum or water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins are swallowed, come into contact with the skin, or when airborne drops (mist) containing toxins are inhaled while swimming, bathing, or showering.

We issued 8 blue-green algae advisories to encourage the public to take precautions.

Health hazards

Healthy environments are critical to the health of individuals and populations. A variety of health hazards in the environment can negatively affect a person’s health. Health hazard examples include those related to mould, insects, rodents, housing, spills, or air quality.

Our public health inspectors investigated 534 health hazard complaints, 32 of which resulted in us supporting marginalized populations in collaboration with partner agencies. Inspectors also conducted 301 consultations and issued 6 orders to address health hazards in our communities.

We investigated 534 health hazard complaints, 32 of which involved marginalized populations whom we supported in collaboration with partner agencies.


Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program

Fruits and vegetables were delivered weekly for 20 weeks to 18 660 students from 86 elementary schools across our service area. Program expansion to 7 First Nation schools meant reaching an additional 901 students.

Healthy eating and healthy weights

We worked with 3 recreation centres to offer healthy canteen menus and trained 159 summer camp staff on Reach For Your Best (R4YB) and weight-bias.

School health

We reached 500 students in Greater Sudbury as part of the Know More Tour about opioids and engaged with 200 students in the Grade 7 and 8 Mindfulness in Schools Pilot Project.

Indigenous engagement

We launched the Indigenous Engagement Strategy for Public Health Sudbury & Districts, Finding our Path Together – Maamowi Mkamang Gdoo-miikaansminaa – Kahkinaw e mikskamahk ki meskanaw. Developing the strategy involved 10 manager and director key informant interviews, surveys completed by 135 staff, 4 public health planning roundtables, feedback from 16 managers, and 4 Indigenous Engagement Strategy Advisory Committee meetings held with representation from 11 Indigenous community voices and perspectives.

Falls prevention

27 new Stand-Up facilitators were trained, and 34 Stand-Up exercise programs were supported and delivered by community partners reaching a total of 438 older adults.

Food premises inspections

We conducted 3 844 inspections to ensure food safety and compliance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation.

Recreational water inspections

We conducted 411 beach inspections on 35 public beaches (weekly), which resulted in 2 220 bacteriological samples being collected and 3 swimming advisories being issued.

Enteric outbreaks

We investigated 62 enteric outbreaks.

Sexual health

We offered 6 025 client visits for services related to sexually transmitted infections, bloodborne infections, birth control, and pregnancy counselling.

Dental screening and cleaning

We screened 8 103 children in school as part of our dental screening programs, of whom 802 received dental cleaning and fluoride treatments.

Social media engagement

We reached 946 636 Facebook users and generated 298 341 Twitter impressions.

Ongoing learning

We offered learning opportunities to 93 students from 8 post-secondary institutions, representing 8 disciplines.

Poverty reduction

We welcomed 14 partner agencies who committed to the Partners to End Poverty Steering Committee.


2018 approved budget: $27,481,482

Strategic Plan 2018–2022


Strategic Priorities


Healthier communities for all.


Working with our communities to promote and protect health and to prevent disease for everyone.



This item was last modified on September 21, 2023