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NWHU to voice funding concerns

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A larger financial burden is going to be shifted from the province onto municipalities as the Ontario government moves forward with its restructuring of health care services.

The local impact of going from 35 local public health units to 10 regional ones will be outlined by staff from Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) at this evening's council meeting.

Presenters will highlight the changes to the cost-sharing model between the province and municipalities that is going from 70 to 30 percent.

The 70-30 percent split will cause the NWHU's cost to obligated municipalities to increase by an estimated $1.1 million.

This change is expected to result in an overall savings of $200 million for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) by 2021.

The MOHLTC will provide one-time funding in 2019/20 to assist municipalities with the transition.

The NWHU says this shift towards increased centralization of services to larger centres could result in less services provided in communities, reduction of local partnerships, closure of local offices, and a decline in public health jobs in small communities.

Also at tonight's meeting, council will hear a presentation from Fort Frances Public Library CEO Caroline Goulding and library board chair Robin Dennis.

As well, Northwest Community Legal Clinic executive director Trudy McCormick will make a presentation on legal aid cuts.

Operations and Facilities manager Travis Rob will deliver a verbal update on capital projects such as the overpass construction and road repairs.

Council will also vote on a resolution regarding the Ford government's funding cuts to the operation budget of Ontario Library Service-North.

Tonight's council meeting will follow the committee of the whole meeting, which gets underway at 5:30 p.m.

Other business on the agenda includes:

  • a request to proclaim June 3 to 9, 2019 as “Parachute Safe Kids Week” in the Town of Fort Frances;
  • a request from Fort Frances Seniors Centre to waive calendar parking on the 400 and 500 blocks of Nelson Street during the District 1A Seniors Games and Senior Fair;
  • a request from the Voyageur Lions Club for the placement of a recycle container on town land;
  • a recommendation to enter into an alternate locate agreement with Union Gas;
  • a recommendation to enter into a funding agreement with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for funding under the Municipal Asset Management Program;
  • a recommendation to receive the letter from A. Livingstone re: sidewalk damage and further that the damaged sidewalk be replaced at the property owners expense as laid out in the report;
  • a recommendation to endorse a meeting with library personnel to advance the library storage shed request as feasible;
  • a bylaw to approve an agreement with Bay City Contractors awarded through a tender process, for road reconstruction;
  • a bylaw to approve an agreement with Ed Kaun & Sons Ltd. awarded through a tender process, for capital facility renovations;
  • a bylaw to amend certain user fees in 2019; and
  • a bylaw to authorize the levy and collection of taxes for all municipal purposes in the Town of Fort Frances for 2019.
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