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Meeting of the Board of Health for the Porcupine Health Unit

Held on November 2, 2018, Timmins Office, Board Room


  • Gilles Chartrand
  • Michael Shea
  • Michel Brière
  • André Rheaume
  • Pat Bamford
  • Claude Bourassa
  • Rick Lafleur
  • Drago Stefanic
  • Andrew Marks
  • Steve Black


  • Dr. Lianne Catton
  • Don West
  • Maria Cook
  • Sue Lajoie
  • Anna Gauthier

Recorder:  Maria Cook

1) Call to Order

Gilles Chartrand, Chair, 5:00 p.m.

2) Additions To/Approval of Agenda

Addition:  9) NEW BUSINESS

a) Vaccines - Hornepayne - D. Stefanic

MOVED BY: André Rhéaume
SECONDED BY: Drago Stefanic

THAT the agenda for this meeting be approved as amended.


3) Adoption of Minutes of Meeting

MOVED BY: Michel Brière
SECONDED BY: Rick Lafleur

THAT the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Health for the Porcupine Health Unit held September 14, 2018 be approved.


4) Business Arising from Minutes


5) Correspondence

Don West spoke to the following correspondence:

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

Re: Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017

  • Copy of letter, dated September 20th, to Minister Christine Elliot (MOHLTC), urging the Government of Ontario to implement the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, without delay, so all Ontarians can benefit from reduced risks of illness and death associated with tobacco, e-cigarettes, and combustible cannabis use; and to work with the public health community in current and future reviews of tobacco control policy.

Southwestern Public Health

Re: Repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada

  • Copy of letter, dated September 25th, to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, endorsing Peterborough Health Unit’s motion to repeal Section 43, and advocating for its immediate passage. Southwestern Public Health believes that physical punishment is neither appropriate nor effective.  The repeal will also send a clear message that the use of physical punishment is not acceptable in a society that values its children. Children are one of our most vulnerable populations and need to be protected.  

Re: Ontario Basic Income Pilot Project

  • Copy of letter, dated September 25th, to Minister Lisa MacLeod, urging the province to maintain this pilot and its planned evaluation, so that future generations may benefit from its lessons.

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health

Re: Prevention matters:  Why Ontario needs a chronic disease prevention strategy.

  • Copy of letter, dated September 27th, to Minister Christine Elliot (MOHLTC) endorsing the report Prevention matters: Why Ontario needs a chronic disease prevention strategy, including the recommendations made in this report and urging the provincial government to move forward with these recommendations to reduce the personal, familial and economic impact of chronic diseases in Ontario.

Re:  Drug Policy Reform

  • Copy of letter, dated September 27th, to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging the federal government to strike a national advisory committee to consider drug policy reform, which will include the full spectrum of decriminalization options that may have the potential to address the opioid overdose crisis, and that are best supported by evidence informed prevention, harm reduction and treatment interventions.

6) Medical Officer of Health and Program Manager Reports

Dr. Catton provided an update to the Board of Health as follows:


Dr. Catton commented on the potential challenges of the new vision program, for several Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) communities, where there is limited or no local access to an optometrist. There will be further advocacy working with community partners, the Ministry and local optometrists to address potential equity concerns for any vision follow-up that may be needed.

Health Equity Updates

We continue to strengthen community partnerships to address homelessness. Several PHU team members sit on the Homelessness Coalition and participated in the recent World Homeless Day Community Feedback Forum. We are exploring ongoing opportunities to expand our reach to priority populations. This year, the PHU team provided influenza vaccinations at local shelters and organizations helping those struggling with food and housing security. This included Living Space, Project Love, Cochrane District Social Services Area Board (CDSSAB) buildings and food banks.

Northeastern Public Health Collaboration Project

We are looking forward to reviewing the report which may highlight potential opportunities for further consideration to increase capacity for public health.

NE LHIN – Collaborations

As per the requirements, Dr. Catton reported she and the other Northeastern Medical Officers of Health have an upcoming meeting scheduled with the NE LHIN CEO. On a local level, the PHU continues to engage at planning tables, bringing the population health perspective.

Youth Wellness Hub

The PHU continues to support the Youth Wellness Hub and looks forward to increasing opportunities for local youth to be physically active, make connections and learn skills.

Cultural Competency

As part of our new Strategic Plan, and related to the Relationship with Indigenous Communities Guideline, we are developing a Reconciliation Framework. One of the first components will be ensuring cultural competency training for all staff and Board of Health members. We are also fortunate to have local indigenous leaders share their culture with us at our upcoming all staff conference day.

Strategic Plan and Risk Management

Dr. Catton reported on the risk assessment process the management team has been working on, as well as the report to the Ministry. Going forward, we will link the strategic plan with our Annual Service Plan (ASP) and risk management processes, and update the Board of Health regularly.

School Program

The ongoing enhancement of formalization of the school program is going well. Dr. Catton hopes to meet with Directors of Education in the coming months to explore priorities and opportunities for greater collaborations. One recent example of an excellent partnership involves District School Board Ontario Northeast and the Timiskaming Health Unit. We are working together to support education and training regarding opiate overdose prevention, as well as an awareness campaign for parents and students providing resources about substance use.


The PHU team has been working diligently to prepare for cannabis legislation. The Ministry confirmed public health’s role in enforcement under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) and the team attended training this October. The approach includes increasing awareness of the potential risks of cannabis use, especially on developing brains, defined as those under 25. We have been providing education sessions for parents in several school boards as well as workplaces. Harm reduction messaging focuses on reducing second hand exposure for children, youth and those at greater risk such as people with lung disease or pregnant women. We are preparing to support municipalities with bylaw and policy development and/or amendments to address concerns around second hand exposure such as recommendations to include vaping or smoking (of any substance), in current tobacco smoking bylaws.

Concussion Event

We are planning a concussion awareness event, Thursday, November 29th, in the evening, with Dr. Charles Tator, a neurosurgeon and well respected researcher and specialist in brain and spinal cord injuries, as well as, Gordon and Kathleen Stringer, who tragically lost their daughter from complications related to concussions. This will be promoted to all schools, sports associations and the general public. It is an honour to have such tremendous advocates join us in Timmins to increase awareness of concussions, which continues to be a concern for our population.

Climate Change Project Collaboration

In collaboration with other northern health units, we have applied to Health Canada for funding support to look at climate change research and local implications.


Inspection Services Report – Sue Lajoie, Manager of Public Health Inspection

Sue Lajoie spoke to her written report regarding Public Health Inspection department statistics, from January 1 to September 30, 2018.


Child Visual Health and Vision Screening – Anna Gauthier, Program Manager

Anna Gauthier spoke to her written report noting that the School Health Standard introduced a new requirement to provide an in-school vision screening program to children in senior kindergarten, beginning in the 2018-19 school year. With 9 school boards and 51 elementary schools in our Porcupine Health Unit area, approximately 792 children will be seen. It is anticipated that vision screening will identify children at risk sooner, reminding parents to visit an optometrist, if they haven’t done so already.  Potential concerns exist in our smaller communities, and as well our role in vision screening for school children in First Nation communities, where there are health equity concerns, lack of access to optometrists, and funding for eyeglasses and travel.

7) Program Committee Report

a) Smoke-Free Ontario Act Update

Drago Stefanic thanked Dr. Catton for providing an update regarding the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

b) Cannabis Legislation

Drago Stefanic thanked Dr. Catton for providing an update with respect to Cannabis Legislation.

c) Risk Management

Drago Stefanic advised that the Committee received Risk Management information regarding reportable risks, and that those risks were communicated to the Ministry, as required.

Drago Stefanic thanked Dr. Catton for updating the Committee with respect to Risk Management.

8) Resource Committee Report

a)  Staff Changes

MOVED BY: Pat Bamford
SECONDED BY: Claude Bourassa

THAT the report of staff changes be received for information.


b)  2019 Budget and Per Capita Rate

MOVED BY: Andrew Marks
SECONDED BY: André Rhéaume

THAT agenda item 8 b) be deferred until the new Board of Health is in place in 2019.


9) New Business

  1. a) Vaccines – Hornepayne Office

Drago Stefanic brought forward a concern, from a community member, with regard to vaccines not currently offered at the Porcupine Health Unit office in Hornepayne.

It was noted that these vaccines are currently available to all community members through local health care providers/medical clinic. There is only one nurse in the Hornepayne office, who does an excellent job providing a broad range of Public Health services. With our limited resources and increasing fiscal constraints, we need to ensure we are not duplicating services, and thus concentrate on services not available elsewhere in the community.

10) Receipt of Minutes for Information

a) Program Committee Meeting Minutes

MOVED BY: André Rhéaume
SECONDED BY: Drago Stefanic      

THAT the minutes of the Program Committee meeting held June 27, 2018 be received for information.


b) Resource Committee Meeting

MOVED BY: Steve Black
SECONDED BY: Rick Lafleur 

THAT the minutes of the Resource Committee meeting held June 27, 2018 be received for information.


c) Management Committee Meeting

MOVED BY: Pat Bamford
SECONDED BY: Michel Brière

THAT the minutes of the Management Committee meeting held August 29, 2018 be received for information.


11) Date of Next Meeting and Adjournment

MOVED BY: Michael Shea
SECONDED BY: Steve Black

THAT the next meeting of the Board of Health for the Porcupine Health Unit be held on December 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm and that this meeting adjourn.