2015 Snapshot of Public Health: Sudbury East 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 Sudbury East, 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 Sudbury East 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 its contents are helpful in sharing the local public health story and in informing people from the area 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 3,225 square kilometres that makes up the Sudbury East area. Home to approximately 6,500 people, the Sudbury East area comprises approximately 7% of the SDHU land area and 3% of its population. Residents in the Sudbury East area speak predominately French or English, with approximately 40% of the population identifying French as their Mother Tongue and approximately 55% identifying English as their Mother Tongue. Though the Sudbury East area experienced a 3% decrease in its population between 2006 and 2011, it continues to be a very vibrant place to call home (2011 Demographic Profile: Sudbury East, 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. Sudbury East is represented by one individual who has historically been a local mayor or councillor.

The Sudbury & District Health Unit 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:

Richard Lemieux

Appointed by:

Municipal Councils of the municipalities of French River, Markstay-Warren, St.-Charles, and Killarney

Public Health Activities in Sudbury East in 2015

The SDHU actively supports well-being in Sudbury East by providing services to protect and to promote health. The following is a snapshot of these Sudbury East 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 Sudbury East communities 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 Sudbury East.

Food Safety

Vector Borne Diseases, Rabies, and Lyme Disease

Health Hazards

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

Did you know?

In order to provide quality public health services within the Sudbury East area, the SDHU has aligned its highly skilled and trained staff with the communities’ unique needs. The SDHU has an office in St.-Charles from which two full-time, bilingual public health nurses provide local health promotion and family health programming. Other services are provided to Sudbury East area residents where and when needed by SDHU main office staff and include, for example, dental health services and emergency preparedness and response.

Environmental Policy

Emergency Response

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, for example, healthy eating and healthy weights, falls prevention, substance misuse and tobacco use prevention, and child and reproductive health. This section includes Sudbury East 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 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 “I am smoke-free because…” campaign

In the fall, youth from Sudbury and French River worked with Health Unit staff on a media campaign about the importance of living smoke-free. The “I am smoke-free because…” campaign was created by youth who described their reasons for choosing to not smoke. This campaign was created in both English and French, and was shared with École secondaire de la Rivière-des-Français, featured at SilverCity Sudbury Cinemas in December, and posted on the SDHU Facebook page.

Additional efforts to promote smoke-free living included the delivery of National Non-Smoking week resources to the high school in French River, sharing the link to the YouTube video for the “ça y est” – a song created by students, and sharing of lesson plans with teachers. “Driven to Quit” campaign information was also shared on the school’s Facebook page.

Promoting safety through education and initiatives

From the very youngest to our more senior residents, the SDHU is a committed health ally in the prevention of injuries to residents in the Sudbury East area. In the summer, the SDHU partnered with the Ministry of Transportation to host a Child Passenger Safety Association Car Seat Technician training session, held in St.-Charles. In partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), a BabyRIDE spot-check clinic was hosted in Markstay in early October. A total of four seats were inspected and three others were scheduled for alternate appointment times. To further promote car seat and seatbelt safety, 500 Car Seat Inspection Clinic calling cards were distributed throughout the year at local OPP RIDE checks and at community events.

In addition, the SDHU partnered with the French River Municipality Libraries Board in their “Vibrant Seniors, Vibrant Community” event. SDHU public health nurses provided educational supports and resources to approximately 75 seniors in attendance, including the dissemination of over 200 Stay On Your Feet resources.

Building resilience through physical activity

Every year, Sudbury East public health nurses meet with all nine Sudbury East area schools to review programming needs, provide education regarding resiliency and offer support to schools tailored to their individual needs. Throughout 2015, SDHU public health nurses continued to support physical activity programming in secondary schools made possible by a Ministry of Education grant. Our staff collaborated with community members, such as youth groups, to plan various activities. We also supported the training and delivery of physical activity classes, such as Zumba and Kangou, offered in the evenings for students and their families. SDHU staff also helped purchase physical activity equipment, such as dynabands, stability balls, and yoga mats, to create a supportive environment for active living. At École secondaire de la Rivière-des-Français, SDHU staff consulted with the school principal and teachers on the development of a school-wide policy that encourages physical activity and supports active environments.

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 is of concern to the residents in the Sudbury East area. Substance misuse impacts all of us. Reducing the harms associated with misuse requires a community effort, as this issue cannot be solved by one individual, group, or agency alone. Because of this, SDHU staff initiated conversations with the Sudbury East Safety Coalition (SESC) to discuss the development of a Sudbury East Drug Strategy. All members of the SESC showed their full support and endorsed further planning of a local drug strategy. As a first step, SDHU staff met with the Sudbury East Municipal Association (SEMA) and received unanimous support and a resolution to move forward together to address the issue of substance misuse in the Sudbury East area.

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 Sudbury East area. It helps increase their consumption of weekly vegetables and fruit as well as increasing 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 being given two servings of vegetables and fruit each week helped them achieve their recommended weekly intake.

Beyond the school walls, SDHU staff provided resources to educate children and their parents about healthy eating habits and assisted school communities build healthy habits in children. In the Sudbury East area, nine schools participated in the NFVP reaching 457 students during the 2014/15 school year.

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

Throughout the year, SDHU staff continued to strengthen relationships with local schools and Our Children Our Futures (OCOF) partners to support Triple P programming. These supports included offering individual and group supports, and providing advice for parents as required. SDHU also developed stronger links with school principals as evidenced by their referrals of parents to Triple P services in the Sudbury East area. A Triple P seminar for parents of children ages 0 to 11 years was offered in partnership with Monetville Public School as well as an 8-week group session for parents of teens in partnership with École secondaire de la Rivière-des-Français.

In addition, SDHU staff regularly attended quarterly OCOF-Best Start Hub play groups in the area to support Triple P quick tip sheet discussions with parents, provide car seat education, and link parents to Car Seat Inspection Clinics. Educational sessions on nutrition and building resiliency in children and youth were also offered.

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 Sudbury East area. It is intended to paint a picture of SDHU activities in Sudbury East during the 2015 calendar year, and highlights 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 Sudbury East 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 Sudbury East 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 St.-Charles 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 December 23, 2019