At its regular monthly meeting today, the Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit’s Board of Health agreed to ask the Province of Ontario to address the increasing gap between the income level of people receiving social services and the cost of healthy food.
Hastings and Prince Edward Counties have the second highest rate of food insecurity in Ontario, involving 1 in 9 households or more than 17,600 local residents. The Health Unit released its 2014 report, “The Real Cost of Eating Well in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties” today. This report shows that healthy eating is not an option for many of the most vulnerable residents in these communities, and this leads to a variety of health concerns. Please click here to read full report.
Other Board of Health Business
The Board of Health received a report on electronic (e-) cigarettes. These devices are increasingly being used, but there is little information about their potential long-term effects . There are currently no manufacturing standards or quality controls, and it has been identified that there are small quantities of toxic chemicals in the vapour from e-cigarettes. The Health Unit advises:
- Workplaces should set policies to ban indoor use of e-cigarettes;
- Advertising and marketing should be restricted to smokers and adults only;
- Approved smoking cessation devices (patches, gum, lozenges) should be utilized as a first step to quit smoking;
- Further testing should be conducted for efficacy and safety; and
- Health Canada should regulate these devices.
Please click here to see report.
2. New Building Update
The new Health Unit building construction is progressing well and the project is under budget. The project remains several weeks behind the original schedule, but discussions are taking place with the contractor about how project completion may be expedited. All services remain available in the current North Park Street (Belleville) location.
3. Fiscal 2015 Budget
There is a budget surplus as of September 30, 2014, the third quarter of the Health Unit’s Fiscal 2014 budget year. The Board of Health asked administration to prepare two budgets for next year: a zero-based version and one with a 2% funding increase over Fiscal 2014.
4. Flu Clinic Activity to Date
The Board was advised that four community flu clinics have been held to date with 2,270 individuals vaccinated. There are 9 further clinics scheduled prior to the end of November. Please click here for the full 2014 clinic schedule.
5. Farewell to Departing Board Members
Board Chair James McBride recognized outgoing Board of Health Members Ron Hamilton (Municipal Appointee, City of Quinte West), Pat Culhane (Municipal Appointee, City of Belleville), Bev Campbell (Municipal Appointee, County of Prince Edward), Paul Kyte (Municipal Appointee, City of Quinte West), and Heather Campbell (Municipal Appointee, County of Prince Edward). Combined, these individuals contributed 36 years of service to the Health Unit. The Chair also welcomed a new Provincial Appointee to the Board: Deborah Goulden.
About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is one of 36 health units across Ontario. HPEPH provides dozens of programs and services, along with reliable health information, to a population of approximately 150,000 people in a 7,000 square km catchment area encompassing 17 municipalities. HPEPH’s mission is to enable the people in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties to achieve and maintain optimal health through health protection and promotion, as well as disease and injury prevention. For more information, please visit www.yourhealthunit.ca .
Richard Schabas, MD, MHSc, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health
Phone: 613-966-5513 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 200