2015 Snapshot of Public Health: LaCloche Foothills Area

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Public Health: Putting the Community First

Reflecting on the past year of providing Public Health services, I am reminded of the many wonderful opportunities with which we are presented to help make meaningful contributions in the communities we serve.

To some, Public Health is a protector, helping to control the spread of infectious disease and monitoring the water to keep it safe for drinking and swimming. For others, Public Health is a promoter, supporting families to be the best they can be, providing education to help keep older adults from falling, and making it easier for everyone to eat well and be active wherever they live, learn, work, or play. To many, Public Health is a champion, providing information to people and bringing people together to build communities where everyone has the same opportunities for health.

Public Health may not always be visible, but it is always present to help prevent illness, promote health, and protect us all. Public Health pays big health dividends. The work of Public Health results in healthier, more productive individuals and communities—communities that can then invest in the things that really matter to health including jobs, education, housing, infrastructure, and more. The Sudbury & District Health Unit is proud to work in collaboration with so many dedicated individuals and groups in our communities so that together, we improve opportunities for health for all!

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe – Sudbury & District Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

Our vision:

Healthier communities for all.

Our mission:

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

Strategic Priorities

  1. Champion and lead equitable opportunities for health.
  2. Strengthen relationships.
  3. Strengthen evidence-informed public health practice.
  4. Support community actions promoting health equity.
  5. Foster organization-wide excellence in leadership and innovation.


In the 2015 Snapshot of Public Health for the LaCloche Foothills area, readers will find a brief overview of the Ontario public health system, including the local public health agency, the Sudbury & District Health Unit (SDHU). The 2015 Snapshot report includes highlights of public health activities in the LaCloche Foothills area during the 2015 calendar year.

This snapshot of public health activities shines a light on the SDHU’s public health work that is done in collaboration with the public, community agencies, and municipalities. It is hoped that the contents are helpful in sharing the local public health story and in informing people about how their public health dollars are being spent to promote and protect the health of everyone.

The SDHU is proud to work with and for the people who live, play, and work in the 1,143 square kilometres that makes up the LaCloche Foothills area. Home to approximately 9,400 people, the LaCloche Foothills area comprises approximately 7% of the SDHU land area and 5% of its total population. Residents of the LaCloche Foothills area speak predominately English, with approximately 84% of the population identifying English as their Mother Tongue. Though the LaCloche Foothills area experienced a 1.4% decrease in its population between 2006 and 2011, it continues to be a very vibrant place to call home (2011 Demographic Profile: Espanola, SDHU).

A map of the various district office locations in the Sudbury and District Office area

Public Health in Ontario

Public health works “upstream” to promote and protect health and prevent people from becoming sick. If we can imagine the health system as a continuum, the treatment services of hospitals would be at one end and public health would be at the other, working to keep people from needing hospitals and other health care services in the first place.

An illustration depicting the Sudbury & District Health Unit's Upstream philosophy. At the top end of a river small stick figures are falling in, to be retrieved by other figures along the banks of the river. At the end of a river sits an ambulance ready to take figures still in the river to the hospital.

Like with fire, police, and education services, public health is a “public good”–publicly funded and always there for us. Public health works behind the scenes to promote healthy places (e.g. helping municipal councils make bylaws for healthier food options in recreational centres) and front and centre to protect our health (e.g. issuing boil water advisories when drinking water is unsafe).

In Ontario, there is a provincial network of 36 non-profit public health units, all responsible for delivering standard public health programs and services, and for upholding public health law. About 80% of a local public health unit’s budget is cost-shared between the municipalities and the province, with the provincial government contributing up to three quarters of that funding. The remaining 20% of a local public health unit’s budget is 100% provincially funded. The law specifies that municipal funding to public health is allocated on a per capita basis.

The 36 public health units, together with provincial ministries and agencies, and in partnership with primary care and laboratories, comprise the formal provincial public health system.

Your Local Public Health Unit—Our Structure

The SDHU is governed by an autonomous Board of Health. Sudbury & District Board of Health membership is determined by legislation and includes municipally elected representatives and citizen representatives from across the SDHU area. LaCloche Foothills is represented by one individual who has historically been a local mayor or councillor.

The SDHU works hard to meet the needs of the diverse population we serve and to meet our legislative requirements. To do this, the SDHU is organized into five divisions each reporting to the Medical Officer of Health.

The Sudbury and District Health Unit's organizational structure. At the top sits the Board of Health, on the next level is the Medical Officer of Health/CEO, branching off of that level is the Associate Medical Officer of Health. On the next level, below the Medical Officer of Health/CEO are the Sudbury and District Health Unit's 5 divisions: Health Promotion, Environmental Health, Clinical and Family Services, Resources. Research, Evaluation and Development. and Corporate Services.

2015 Sudbury & District Health Unit Board of Health Member:

Stewart Meikleham

Appointed by:

Council of the Town of Espanola, the Municipal Councils of the townships of Baldwin and Sables- Spanish Rivers and the Municipal Council of The Corporation of the Township of Nairn & Hyman

Public Health Activities in LaCloche Foothills in 2016

The SDHU actively supports well-being in LaCloche Foothills by providing services to protect and to promote health. The following is a snapshot of these LaCloche Foothills public health activities that occurred in 2015. Together, they paint a picture of the variety and volume of local public health work.

Health Protection

The SDHU delivers a number of services designed to protect the health of its communities. These services include for example, immunizations, health hazard investigations, sexual health services, food safety, and safe water initiatives. The snapshots in the section below highlight the health protection services provided by the SDHU to LaCloche Foothills in 2015.

Control of Infectious Diseases and Infection Control

Sexual Health Program

Dental Services

Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program

Smoke-Free Ontario Act Enforcement

Did you know?

The SDHU employs a number of public health professionals to carry out its mission and public health mandated programs. These include but are not limited to public health physicians (Medical Officer and Associate Medical Officer of Health), public health nurses, public health inspectors, dental educators and hygienists, registered dietitians, epidemiologists, and planners. We also employ a number of technical and support staff who assist in the operational functions of the organization and the work we do in the various communities throughout LaCloche Foothills.

Food Safety

Vector Borne Diseases, Rabies, and Lyme Disease

Part 8 Land Control (On-Site Sewage System under Ontario Building Code)

Health Hazards

Did you know?

In order to provide quality public health services within the LaCloche Foothills area, the SDHU has aligned its highly skilled and trained staff with the communities’ unique needs. The SDHU has an office in Espanola from which four public health nurses, one public health inspector, one family home visitor, and one office assistant support Health Unit programming for the residents of the LaCloche Foothills area. Other services are provided to LaCloche Foothills area residents where and when needed by SDHU main office staff and include, for example, dental health services, and support for emergency preparedness and response.

Environmental Policy

Safe Water

Drinking Water

Small Drinking Water Systems

Recreational Water

Did you know?

Environmental Health staff are available to participate in tabletop emergency preparedness exercises upon request and often comment on plans or proposals that may have a public health impact.

Health Promotion

Public health plays a key role in the promotion of health and prevention of chronic diseases and injuries. We do this through the delivery of a number of health promotion programs and services including healthy eating and healthy weights, falls prevention, substance misuse and tobacco use prevention, and child and reproductive health. This section includes LaCloche Foothills statistical and narrative information about a broad range of health promotion programs provided in 2015 by the SDHU. Many of these programs are delivered in collaboration and partnerships with many sectors and agencies within the community. These include, but are not limited to, individuals, families, community groups and seniors clubs, faith groups, organizations, health professionals, health centres, child care groups, businesses, social services, local municipal staff and council, school boards and their staff and administration, police, fire services, EMS, and provincial ministries.

Encouraging smoke-free lifestyles through the “Leave the Pack Behind” campaign

Smoking continues to be a challenge many residents in the LaCloche Foothills area struggle to overcome, and the SDHU is committed to supporting partners and residents in their efforts to quit and live smoke-free lives. The reasons people smoke are varied, and providing tailored, individual support is important to help quit successfully. Many of our allied health partners in the LaCloche Foothills area offer tailored smoking cessation services. The SDHU complemented these efforts by focusing its efforts on promoting and encouraging a smoke-free lifestyle through a variety of provincially coordinated campaigns. Leave the Pack Behind was a Government of Ontario-funded tobacco control initiative that offered young adults 18 to 29 years of age smoking and quitting information. These resources were distributed for the holiday weekends throughout the summer of 2015 (e.g. Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday) to encourage cessation.

Promoting safe and active living – an injury prevention activity

Wearing a helmet is known to reduce and prevent head injuries when cycling. In the town of Massey, a concern was raised that some students from the Mennonite community who traveled to school via a highway route using bicycles or horse and buggy, either did not have helmets, or had helmets that were not fitted properly. Having built a strong relationship with members of the Mennonite community, staff from the SDHU collaborated with the Mennonite school to purchase 19 properly sized and culturally appropriate helmets for students from Grades 1 to 8. The school also welcomed two public health nurses to provide assistance with proper helmet fitting and to deliver a presentation on road safety. It is through these health equity-based initiatives that communities can be supported and empowered to reach their full health potential.

We all have a role to play… coming together to prevent the harms of substance misuse

The issue of drug and alcohol misuse is becoming increasingly prevalent in rural areas in Canada and has been a concern for residents and community partners in the LaCloche Foothills area. Substance misuse impacts all of us. Building on previous work, SDHU staff facilitated and supported the development of the community-based LaCloche Foothills Drug Strategy. Reducing the harms associated with misuse requires a community effort, as this issue cannot be solved by one individual, group, or agency alone. As an important first step to building community awareness, engagement and support, this Strategy was presented at the Espanola Healthy Communities Services Council in 2015. This was then followed by presentations to the Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers Council in May 2015, and to the Nairn & Hyman and Baldwin Councils in June 2015. The latter two presentations resulted in a unanimous endorsement of the strategy by both Councils.

Building a healthy and strong food system

Food and healthy eating continues to be a priority for residents in the LaCloche Foothills area. In partnership with the LaCloche Foothills Food Network*(LFFN), SDHU health promotion staff hosted a Fruit Trees, Bushes and Vines Workshop in March 2015 at the Queensway Pentecostal Church. Sixty-four community members gathered to hear a local master gardener share his expertise regarding planting preparation, selecting hardy varieties, pruning, pest control, and harvesting. Since 2010, the LFFN has focused on increasing awareness of, and opportunities for, community food programming. At their September 2015 meeting, the LaCloche Foothills Food Network was presented with the Healthy Eating and Older Adults from the LaCloche Foothills Area report. This report summarized results from community food discussions carried out with older adults from across the LaCloche Foothills area by SDHU staff. Key recommendations included exploring opportunities to improve the food environment through increased access to vegetables and fruit through retail and community-based programs.

*Disbanded in 2016

Starting them off right – parenting supports to help raise healthy and happy kids

Raising healthy families benefits everyone in our community. Parenting children can be very rewarding and it can also be challenging. All parents will encounter obstacles along their parenting journey, so SDHU staff continue to support parents in the LaCloche Foothills area through a variety of family health related programming. Triple P, which stands for Positive Parenting Program, continues to be a focus for the SDHU. Triple P aims to normalize parenting challenges and promotes good communication to raise healthy and resilient children. Through 2015, SDHU staff supported parents in a variety of ways including the promotion of Triple P in an article in the Around & About, delivered free to every household in Espanola and the surrounding areas, parents received educational tips and information about this exciting program. SDHU staff also continued to co-facilitate Triple P groups, offering an 8-week session in Espanola for families with children 0 to 12 years of age.

Building healthy eating habits through a universal vegetable and fruit program

The Northern Fruit & Vegetable Program (NFVP) is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and administered locally by staff from the SDHU. This program provides two servings of vegetables and fruit per week to elementary school children in the LaCloche Foothills area. It helps increase their consumption of weekly vegetables and fruit as well as increases their awareness to the benefits of having a diet rich in vegetables and fruit. The most recent program evaluation indicated that 96% of students thought that being given two servings of vegetables and fruit each week helped them achieve their recommended weekly intake.

Beyond the school walls, SDHU staff ensured success through the provision of resources to educate children and their parents about healthy eating habits to assist school communities build healthy habits in children. In the LaCloche Foothills area, a total of six schools participated in the NFVP reaching 959 students during the 2014/15 school year.

A Sampling of 2015 Health Promotion Programming by the Numbers


The Sudbury & District Health Unit is part of a provincial system of public health that works “upstream” to promote health and prevent disease. Locally, the SDHU provides a broad range of programs and services in collaboration with local community partners and community members throughout the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts and Greater Sudbury.

This report is the second Snapshot of Public Health developed for all leaders and citizens in the LaCloche Foothills area. It is intended to paint a picture of SDHU activities in the LaCloche Foothills area during the 2015 calendar year, and highlight the impressive variety and volume of programming delivered to meet local needs.

The Sudbury & District Health Unit is grateful and honoured to work with and for the people who live, play and work in the LaCloche Foothills area, including the many individuals and agencies that take a leadership role in bettering their communities. SDHU staff are passionate about their work and keen to work with partners and the community to protect, promote and champion health in the LaCloche Foothills area and beyond. Together, we can create opportunities for health for all.

Did you know?

Public health staff can be reached at any time from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday through the Espanola and main offices for routine business, and are available 24/7 for after-hours emergencies at 705.688.4366.

This item was last modified on May 9, 2024