Board of Health approves a near-zero increase for 2020 operating budget

Today, the Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts approved a near-zero increase for its 2020 operating budget. The approved budget aims to maintain important public health programs for local communities despite major provincial funding reductions, increases in fixed costs, and heightened health needs.

“Local public health interventions are highly cost saving,” said René Lapierre, Chair, Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “But more importantly, they are health enhancing. The work of local public health is critical to preventing patients from entering the health care system in the first place, which is essential for ending hallway health care.”

“Our commitment is that residents, communities and partners can continue to depend on Public Health as a foundation in the health system, working for all to improve health opportunities,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury & Districts Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer. “Achieving this commitment with a near-zero budget increase has been very difficult and is the result of deliberate planning and hard decisions, which included organizational realignment and staffing reductions, to preserve our ability to promote and protect health, and prevent disease,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.

Budget facts:

  • The 2020 operating budget for Public Health Sudbury & Districts is $26,623,396, which represents an increase of less than 1% ($200,000 or 0.76%) as compared with 2019.
  • For all boards of health starting January 2020, the provincial government will no longer fully fund certain public health programs that it has historically covered at 100% and is reducing its funding share for all programs to a maximum of 70%. Locally, this results in a $1.17 million provincial funding decrease for 2020.
  • The Ministry of Health communicated in August the expectation that all municipalities will be protected in 2020 from any cost increases resulting from this funding change that exceed 10% of their existing costs.
  • Incorporating all these changes, the 2020 operating budget includes:
    • Over $500,000 in cost reductions related to organizational realignment and staffing reductions;
    • A one-time provincial grant of $600,000; and
    • An increase in municipal funding of $4.47 per person per year or almost $735,000 total increase (up 10% as compared with 2019)

“These are difficult times. In 2019, we had to put in place a hiring freeze in addition to many spending restraints,” said René Lapierre. “We continue to have hard work ahead of us. Our communities’ needs are increasing while at the same time projections estimate a shortfall of over $1.2 million for 2021. We are very active in the Ministry of Health’s public health modernization initiative so that we can give our best advice on how to protect a resilient and responsive local public health system for years to come.”

On Monday, November 18, the Ministry of Health launched its public consultation process to modernize public health and emergency health services in Ontario.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts serves residents across a service area that spans more than 46 551 square kilometres. The agency is committed to improving health and reducing social inequities in health through evidence-informed practice. To learn more about public health programs and services, visit phsd.ca, find us on Facebook and Twitter @PublicHealthSD, or call 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on November 21, 2019