Health Unit merger could see Greater Sudbury join Muskoka, North Bay, Timmins

More details about health unit mergers across Ontario are coming to light.

Documents released by Toronto Health Board show re-drawn boundaries for health care

Documents released by the Toronto Board of Health state that re-drawn health unit boundaries would see Greater Sudbury's health unit merge with Algoma, Nipissing, and parts of Simcoe-Muskoka. (Twitter/SudburyPolice)

More details about health unit mergers across Ontario are coming to light.

In April, the province said it was going to reduce the number of health units from 35 to 10.

On Tuesday, the Toronto Board of Health released a document that outlines the redrawn boundaries, as well as a list of the health units that could merge and the population numbers under the new boards.

The document states that Public Health Sudbury & Districts would merge with seven other health units, including Algoma, North Bay-Parry Sound and the Muskoka part of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The new health unit is expected to serve 625,000 people in the area.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, the chief medical officer for Public Health Sudbury & Districts, says the recommendation to add the Muskoka portion to northeastern Ontario's service area is questionable.

"It's my hope that we can feed into the consultation process and understand the rationale why [Muskoka] should be part of the northeast of Ontario," Sutcliffe said. "And perhaps we can present some arguments for and against."

She adds that there was still "lots of work" to be done in negotiations between health units in the northeast, municipalities and the province.

"You can bet that that is our number one really roll up our sleeves and do our best to create a public health system in the northeast that will best meet the needs of the population here," Sutcliffe said. "I have to say that...public health is so important that we know we can't afford to not get this right."

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe is the Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury and Districts. (Submitted by Public Health Sudbury and Districts)

A e-mailed statement from a spokesperson in the Minster of Health's office said they could not confirm specifics at this time, but will soon be launching "technical working groups" with municipalities to help facilitate the mergers.

"Through these technical working groups, we will also work with our municipal partners to design governance and delivery models that protect and preserve the voice of all municipalities," the email states.

"In doing so, we will ensure that public health investments better meet the needs of local communities."

The spokesperson stressed that the details of the new boundaries will still have to go through the working group process and consultation with municipalities before being finalized.


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