Annual Report 2019

We are public health, Annual Report 2019: resilient, adaptable, responsive
Medical Officer of Health message

Message from Dr. Penny Sutcliffe

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

2019 was a tumultuous year for Ontario’s public health system, including Public Health Sudbury & Districts. Locally, we leveraged our core values—humility, trust, and respect—to engage in provincial reviews of the public health system and stay the course to be there for public health in all of our communities. Our agency’s commitment to strong local partnerships remained critical to our ability to understand and respond to local public health issues. Examples of this commitment include our focus on increasing our cultural competence so that we can successfully implement our Indigenous Engagement Strategy. This allows us to further build meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities in our service area. In partnership with youth, academic communities, and others, we have also been working on racial equity and reducing systemic racism. Our Racial Equity Action Framework was developed to provide us with a roadmap for this important work in the realm of public health.

While we are grounded in our day-to-day practice and the on-the-ground realities of our communities, we are guided by research and evidence. We partner with Laurentian University and other post-secondary institutions to engage together in practical research and to train future public health professionals. Our continued collaboration with health system partners across Northern Ontario help us remain focused on the public health issues that we have in common but that are unique to our northern settings.

With these and other partnerships, we have built a resilient, adaptable, and responsive local public health agency. This means that our ability to understand and respond effectively to emerging issues is strengthened—be that the issues are related to substance use, infectious diseases, or poverty reduction.

As always, I am thankful for the dedication and professionalism of our talented staff. Our agency is very ably guided by the skillful leadership of the Board of Health—whose chair and members demonstrate their unwavering commitment to public health in all decisions they make. It is my great pleasure to share a number of highlights from the past year in the 2019 Annual Report of Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe

Board of health message

Message from René Lapierre

Chair, Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts

Public Health Sudbury & Districts has made significant strides to improve our community’s health. Our continued efforts and role as key partners on initiatives related to mental health, poverty reduction, and Indigenous engagement are critical to the long-term health and well-being of the communities we serve. Our public health professionals continue to be our greatest asset, and I am always impressed by their professionalism and focus on delivering outstanding public health programming and first-class customer service. It is also fitting that in 2019, we launched the Public Health Heroes program to recognize individuals and organizations whose everyday contributions help make our communities healthy.

I am impressed with the high degree of collaboration that goes into the programs and services we deliver. This collaboration is a significant factor in consistently delivering results to the communities we serve. Whether we are working with multiple partners on a community drug strategy or consulting with individuals with lived experience, our meaningful interactions with others help produce the best health outcomes.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts continues to meet and oftentimes exceed expectations, and I am confident that we will be able to continue to capitalize on opportunities to improve our community’s health.

I am proud to serve as Board Chair and am pleased to present the 2019 Annual Report.

René Lapierre

Health Promotion

School health

School health

We introduced the Inhale, Exhale school mindfulness program to 450 Grade 7 and 8 students across 6 schools. This mindfulness program provided experiential learning and skill-building opportunities to incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives.

Our trained public health nurses facilitated the Reaching IN . . . Reaching OUT and Bounce Back and Thrive workshops to 60 educators, parents, and caregivers. The workshops focused on strengthening the adult’s capacity to role model resilience in their daily interactions with their children to help build life-long resilience.

56 public awareness activities were delivered to post-secondary students, faculty members, and decision makers on the following topics:

Community drug strategy

Community drug strategies

We worked with over 20 community partners to develop and put into action community drug strategies, including the City of Greater Sudbury Opioid Poisonings Response Plan. This comprehensive plan describes surveillance, communication, and harm-reduction activities and clarifies the role of key stakeholders in the community. An online Opioid Surveillance Dashboard was launched to provide a monthly, publicly available report on the opioid community response.  Five drug alerts were issued over the year to help prevent overdoses and raise awareness.

To promote healthy relationships and their role in preventing opioid use, we created the We are Jeff video, which shows how we all can be part of the solution when it comes to community health. We also launched the Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study (NAFS) to explore if supervised consumption services could help address some of the drug issues in Greater Sudbury. The Community Drug Strategy continues to engage in work that is improving the health, safety, and well-being of all individuals in Greater Sudbury.

By the numbers

Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program

19 570 students received fruits and vegetables weekly for 20 weeks. In total, 93 publicly-funded and First Nation elementary schools participated.

Smoking cessation

263 nicotine replacement therapy vouchers and 984 nicotine replacement therapy products were distributed to clients who attended our Quit Smoking Clinics.

Falls prevention

40 Stand Up! exercise programs were supported and delivered by partners throughout Sudbury and districts. 462 older adults were reached.

Healthy Babies Healthy Children

2 002 home visits completed by family home visitors and 1 538 visits were completed by public health nurses for a total of 3 540 visits.


2 276 naloxone kits were distributed to individuals by eligible agencies.

School health

117 presentations, skill-building opportunities, workshops, training sessions, and consultations, were delivered to the school community on mental health promotion, healthy eating behaviours, healthy sexuality, substance use and harm reduction, healthy growth and development, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, ultraviolet exposure, and injury prevention.

Health Protection

Hepatitis A outbreak

Hepatitis A outbreak

We received a report of a laboratory-confirmed case of hepatitis A virus on December 15, 2019. The case was in a food handler who worked as a clerk at the deli counter at a local grocery store. Following the first reported case, there was a second laboratory-confirmed case on January 1, 2020, at the same store.

Our community response to this outbreak was timely and comprehensive. Effective community notification was achieved through a news release, social media, and traditional media. We received over 20 000 visits to our website and over 20 000 people were reached through social media posts, and 8 media interviews were held in just 3 days. Additionally, a temporary call centre was set up and 2 164 calls were received by individuals seeking more information on hepatitis A. Also, free immunization clinics were offered 7 days a week to ensure all those concerned about exposure could receive the hepatitis A vaccine. In total, 3 022 people received the vaccine.

Immunization records

Immunization records

In 2019, Public Health reviewed 26 250 student immunization records for completeness, as per requirements in the Immunization of School Pupils Act. Under provincial legislation, parents and guardians must report their child’s vaccinations to local public health. Public Health uses the information to ensure optimal protection of all school-aged children (4 to 17) in our jurisdiction against certain vaccine-preventable diseases. Many serious diseases spread easily, and immunizations build up and strengthen a child’s immune systems, protecting them against diseases. High immunization rates in schools help to keep students safe by preventing outbreaks. Unless a child has a valid exemption, they must be appropriately immunized against designated diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal disease, pertussis (whooping cough), and varicella (chickenpox) for children born in 2010 or later.

By the numbers

Harm reduction

There were 27 900 client visits or contacts to The Point for harm reduction supplies and services.

Preventive services

457 children participated in school-based preventive services.

Vision screening

1 760 senior kindergarten students participated in the school-based vision screening program.

Smoke-Free Ontario Act

138 charges were issued for smoking or vaping on school property. Nine charges were issued for smoking or vaping on hospital property.

Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program

118 inquiries were received for the new Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program.

Food premise inspections

3 745 food premise inspections were conducted.

Health hazards

524 health hazard complaint investigations were conducted.

Enteric outbreaks

51 enteric outbreaks were investigated.

Knowledge and Strategic Services

Indigenous engagement and racial equity

Indigenous engagement and racial equity

As an agency, it is critical that we respectfully engage with Indigenous Peoples and racialized groups. Having a skilled and competent workforce to support this work is essential. Last year represented a growth journey on these fronts.

To strengthen our capacity for a culturally competent workforce to support collaboration with Indigenous partners and community members, we focused on building our skills through 12 training and development initiatives. All staff participated in Debwewin or “Speaking the Truth” sessions, which focused on the history of Indigenous Peoples and the impact of colonization on health and well-being. Training sessions that provided insights and background about our agency’s Indigenous engagement protocols were offered. An Indigenous educator presented to 173 staff and spoke about Indigenous cultural humility and mindfulness.

To support racial equity, we developed an agency framework and committed to advance our vision to reduce systemic racism to ensure those affected have equal opportunities for health. Skill building and workforce development—and more specifically, Allyship training—are foundational to this work. Allyship training materials were developed to enhance our capacity to apply anti-racist and anti-oppressive approaches to all our public health practices including engagement, training, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Public Health research

Public health research

Meaningful public health programs and services must reflect the needs of the populations we serve. To be effective, they must be informed by evidence. To be able to respond to the needs and emerging issues in public health, our staff consult and collaborate with internal and external partners, community members, and decision makers to conduct research and evaluate the best available evidence.

In 2019, our staff acted in a lead or consultative role, conducting research, evaluations, needs assessments, and literature reviews, engaged with the public and community stakeholders for 23 research and evaluation projects covering a wide range of topics of public health importance. Among them included the overall evaluation of the City of Greater Sudbury Healthy Kids Community Challenge and publishing of the Anti-texting and driving strategies: Youth perceptions, attitudes and behaviours report.

Our staff will continue to respond to public health needs through the process of gathering, reviewing, and disseminating current evidence from a variety of sources. We will continue to collaborate in meaningful work and use the best available evidence to inform our work and support our communities.

Social media engagement

Social media engagement

Facebook (English and French)

Twitter (English and French)

By the numbers

Public Health Heroes

8 Public Health Heroes were recognized for their efforts to put public health into action and make tangible, positive differences in their communities.

Population health

11 mental health indicators were added to the Public Health Sudbury & Districts Population Health Profile.

Student placements

99 students completed placements, from 7 post-secondary institutions, representing 11 disciplines.

Poverty reduction

27 Circles Leaders (participants) with their 33 children, and 56 Circles Allies (volunteers) were recruited into Circles Sudbury, which is a community poverty reduction program.



2019 approved budget: $27,487,136


This item was last modified on September 21, 2023