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Merger Questions Still Linger

By Randy Thoms Aug 31, 2022 | 8:22 AM

There is still concern that public health units in northwestern Ontario will be merged as one.

The province had floated the idea of bringing together the Northwestern Health Unit and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit before the pandemic.

The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association raised the issue during its meetings at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference.

NDP MPP Lise Vaugeois questioned the Health Minister on it at Queen’s Park on Tuesday.

She says having one large public health unit covering over 500,000 square kilometres will only make the challenges to health care in the north that much greater.

“In the Ontario northwest, we already face enormous geographical challenges to access health care. The proposed mega health unit would serve an absurdly large geographical area with distinctly different communities and distinctly different needs that no single health or paramedic unit could possibly manage without putting people’s lives at risk,” said the MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North.

Sylvia Jones sidestepped questions.

She would only say there was no decrease in health care spending, making no mention of public health units.
“Can I reassure the member opposite that there has been no underlying decrease in health funding in the province of Ontario?” asked Jones.

Jones did comment on the recent expansion of the paramedicine programs and how residents were able to get their COVID vaccine at multiple locations.



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