2014 Snapshot of Public Health: LaCloche Foothills

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The LaCloche Foothills area is comprised of four very vibrant communities – each led by engaged municipal leaders working hard to ensure residents and visitors experience the best that the region has to offer.

In the 2014 Snapshot of Public Health of the LaCloche Foothills area, readers will find a brief overview of the Ontario public health system and its local arm, the Sudbury & District Health Unit (SDHU). The 2014 Snapshot report includes highlights of public health activities in LaCloche Foothills during the 2014 calendar year. The Snapshot of Public Health 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 Sudbury & District Health Unit is proud to work in partnership with the following LaCloche Foothills communities:

Map of the Sudbury & District Health Unit service 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.

As 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 our health (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 the public health law. About every 25¢ of local municipal funding for public health is matched by 75¢ from provincial funding. The law specifies that municipal funding to public health is on a per capita basis.

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

Your Local Public Health Unit—Our Structure

The SDHU is governed by an autonomous board of health. Sudbury & District Board of Health members are determined by legislation and the membership 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 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.

This image depicts a high livel organizational chart for the Sudbury & District Health Unit.

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, a public health physician (Medical Officer of Health), public health nurses, public health inspectors, dental educators and hygienists, dietitians, and epidemiologists. 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.

Public Health Activities in LaCloche Foothills

The SDHU actively supports health 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 2014. 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 communities in 2014.

Did you know?
The work of public health involves a huge amount of 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, the police and fire, and provincial ministries.

Control of Infectious Diseases and Infection Control

Sexual Health Program

Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program

Dental Services

Food Safety

Health Hazards

Vector Borne Diseases, Rabies, and Lyme Disease

Drinking Water

Small Drinking Water Systems

Part 8 Land Control (under Ontario Building Code)

Recreational Water and Safe Water

Extreme Weather Alerts

Smoke-Free Ontario Act Enforcement

Did you know?

In order to meet the unique need of the communities within LaCloche Foothills, the SDHU has aligned its highly skilled and trained staff to provide quality public health services. 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 residents where and when needed and include, for example, dental health services and emergency preparedness and response.

Health Promotion

Public health also 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 2014 by the SDHU. Many of these programs are delivered in collaboration with important partners such as other service agencies, community groups, schools, and municipalities.

Tobacco Use Prevention

In May 2014, the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) passed a Smoke-Free Housing policy, which came into effect in January 2015. The SDHU provided support to the implementation of the policy by delivering education and information sessions to the DSB housing units. A total of 4 presentations were provided to 84 housing unit residents located in Espanola, Massey, and Webbwood. Smoking cessation resources and local support for quitting smoking were highlighted by public health staff. Additional tobacco use prevention and cessation efforts for Espanola and area residents include the distribution of information and implementation of campaigns targeted to students and young adults (e.g., wouldurather…, Leave the Pack Behind), and to adults (e.g. Driven to Quit).

School Health

In 2014, the SDHU collaborated with A.B. Ellis Public School in Espanola on the Pathways to resilient school communities program by providing presentations on the Strengths-Based approach, working closely with the principal and the teachers to develop an environment where students can thrive. SDHU staff have also provided presentations on Nutrition Tools for Schools©, and shared information on body image and self-esteem. SDHU also hosted an All Dressed Up gown giveaway at one of the local schools in Espanola. Students from 7 schools in the catchment area were invited to come and try on graduation/prom dresses and 22 dresses were given away.

In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, the SDHU coordinated the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program for six schools in the LaCloche Foothills area. As part of the program, participating schools received fresh vegetables and fruit each week from April to June 2014. Participating schools included A.B Ellis Public School, S. Geiger Public School, Webbwood Public School, Sacred Heart Catholic School, St. Mary Catholic School and École Catholique St-Joseph.

Early Detection of Cancer

In March 2014, in recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, SDHU staff, in conjunction with the North East Cancer Centre’s Cancer Prevention & Screening Network, joined forces with the Espanola Rivermen to promote the importance of colorectal cancer screening. An information kiosk was located in the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex’s main lobby during the Rivermen’s last hockey game of their regular season. SDHU staff and Canadian Cancer Society volunteers provided cancer screening information to over 650 hockey fans at the kiosk and via announcements.

Prevention of Substance Misuse

Responding to concerns around drug use in the LaCloche Foothills area, the SDHU and 24 community partners/agencies developed the LaCloche Foothills Drug Strategy, which was endorsed by the Espanola town council in June 2014. The LaCloche Foothills Drug Strategy is built on the foundations of Education, Enforcement, Services and Relationships. To promote the new Strategy, a series of education sessions were delivered. This included a meeting with 12 individuals at the Espanola Senior’s Drop-in Centre to discuss drug use issues, and proper handling/safe storage of medications, and a series of sessions with all students (~500) at the Espanola High School. Due to the timing of the 2014 municipal elections, it was decided to approach the townships of Baldwin, Nairn-Hyman, and Sable-Spanish for their endorsement of the LaCloche Foothills Drug Strategy in 2015.

SDHU staff also worked to raise awareness of the potential harms associated with alcohol misuse. In partnership with the 2 local police forces, the Espanola Town Police and the OPP, 450 Arrive Alive Party Smart Home Hosting Kits were distributed. The kits contained tips, prevention strategies, and information for hosting safe events within the home. A Safe Grad event was also held with Espanola High School in May, and featured mocktails, an alternative to alcoholic beverages.

Injury Prevention

The SDHU is a member of the Espanola and Area Safety Coalition (EASC), which is a community driven group that aims to reduce injury in the area. The coalition meets monthly from September to June to plan and host a number of annual events and promotion of provincial campaigns. In 2014, the EASC erected a billboard with messaging which encouraged drivers to report drinking and driving, and to promote safe winter driving. In partnership with the EASC, the SDHU also participates in the Road Safety Challenge hosted by the Ministry of Transportation for an awareness raising campaign at graduation time, with an Impaired by Drugs or Alcohol theme.

The SDHU provided support to partners implementing four STAND UP! programs—a 12-week exercise program for older adults. As part of a regional falls prevention strategy for older adults, the SDHU played a lead role in providing training, program equipment, and education resources to partners implementing the program in the Lacloche Foothills area.

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, Healthy Weights

In 2014, SDHU staff developed partnerships and offered food skills sessions to individuals of all ages. Sessions were offered across the LaCloche Foothills area with the goal of helping participants build food literacy. In addition, as an active member of the LaCloche Foothills Food Network (LFFN), the SDHU supported a variety of community-driven initiatives to improve the local food environment and work towards achieving a healthy food system, including the development of the Espanola Eat Local Market and the Local Food Producers of the Lacloche Area brochure, both of which encourage the purchasing and consumption of local foods.

In an effort to reduce the cost-related barriers to physical activity, and promote active lifestyles during the winter months, SDHU staff provided donated skate laces and skate guards to the three recreation departments in Espanola, Massey, and Baldwin. In partnership with the Brain Injury Association Sudbury and District, staff also handed out 75 coupons of $15 each toward the purchase of any type of helmet at a local Espanola store. Staff also supported, through start-up funding and training, the successful implementation of a walking program at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Massey, allowing local residents to walk for free indoors during the winter. A total of 48 people registered in the program, and an average of 20 people attended per evening.

The SDHU has also worked in partnership with the Sudbury & Manitoulin Districts Aboriginal Diabetes Prevention Program Advisory Committee and LaCloche Foothills area Aboriginal health centres in order to build opportunities for adults to engage in healthy lifestyles and to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The SDHU organized the Bring Back the Tradition of Healthy Living media campaign via local radio, TV, print, and digital advertising. In November 2014, the SDHU organized an Urban Poling Instructors training course in Espanola for physical activity promoters working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

In an effort to support the development of healthy self-esteem in young girls, SDHU staff developed an interactive, community-based, body image and self-esteem program for girls aged 9–12 called Celebrate You! The after-school program was delivered by SDHU staff in the spring with nine girls who met weekly for eight 1-hour long workshops at A.B. Ellis Public School.

Family Health

In 2014, the SDHU actively participated in the work of the local Triple P Program, an evidenced-based parenting program offering group and individual support and advice for parents. An 8-week group program was offered to 12 parents and caregivers of children aged 0–12. In partnership with Our Children Our Future, child care was provided free of charge to participating families. Programming is coordinated and delivered based on service provider requests and parent needs.

Partnerships and collaboration are key to promoting healthy and resilient communities and families. Three prenatal workshops were held in collaboration with the Espanola Family Health Team, Our Children Our Future, and Manitoulin Midwifery. Mothers and their supports from the entire service area were invited to participate in the 1-day workshop. A total of 45 participants learned about breastfeeding, prenatal nutrition, infant safety, and labour and delivery.

In partnership with Our Children Our Future (OCOF), the SDHU has hosted breastfeeding support groups in the LaCloche Foothills area, with approximately five to eight individuals attending each week. The support group provided an opportunity for breastfeeding moms to socialize while receiving information on breastfeeding and referrals to other agencies or breastfeeding clinics.  if necessary. Public health staff from the Espanola office also presented on various topics such as oral care, physical activity, injury prevention, and Healthy Babies, Healthy Children services at monthly Family Fun Nights hosted by OCOF in the town of Webbwood. Public health nurses also provided support and conducted presentations at OCOF’s Steps and Stages program twice a month and as requested, in Espanola, Massey, and Webbwood.


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 in Greater Sudbury.

This snapshot of public health was developed in order to provide a picture of SDHU activities in the LaCloche Foothills area during the 2014 calendar year for LaCloche Foothills leaders and citizens.  The variety and volume of programming to meet local needs is impressive.

The Sudbury & District Health Unit is grateful to the leadership of the following LaCloche Foothills communities for their keen interest in public health in their communities:

Sudbury & District Health Unit staff are passionate about their work and eager to work with partners to support health and ensure opportunities for health for all throughout the LaCloche Foothills area and beyond!

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 main office for routine business, and are available 24/7 for after-hours emergencies at 705.688.4366.

This item was last modified on May 1, 2024