'A huge hit': WECHU loses $1.5M in provincial funding to 2019 budget

The Ontario government will reduce its contribution to the Windsor Essex County Health Unit by $1.5 million this year.

The chair of the board of health says the cut comes from a change in the funding model

Chair of the board of health Gary McNamara says with the funding model changing mid-year, it'll be difficult to ask municipalities for more money. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is facing a $1.5-million budget cut in 2019, according to the chair of the board of health Gary McNamara.

He said the cut in provincial funds comes from a change in the funding model.

"We've got to wait to see what the details are going to be coming down from the province, but I can tell you, this is going to hit us hard," McNamara said.

Previously, WECHU was funded 75 per cent by the province and 25 per cent by municipalities. Now, the province only gives 70 per cent while municipalities are expected to give 30 per cent.

McNamara also mentioned that the Toronto Public Health funding has also been cut.

"There's a billion dollar hit there over the next few years," he said.

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is losing $1.5 million in provincial funding for the 2019 budget year. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

He added that it's not entirely clear how the funding change is going to affect programs.

"We have to continue to provide a level of service to protect our citizens — that's certainly critical," McNamara said. 

"We're going to continue to provide a first-class, first-rate public health service to serve our community to the best of our ability with the challenges ahead."

Even though the funding model has changed, McNamara said it'll be difficult to go back to municipalities to ask for more money because their budgets are finished.

"To do this, mid-year, and our budget's already done, that's a huge hit."

With files from Chris Ensing


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