Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Board Meeting Notes

October 23, 2013   ·   0 Comments

Board of Health to write Premier, Ministers about provincial alcohol policy

The Simcoe Muskoka board of health was briefed last week on regulatory modernization in Ontario’s alcohol beverage industry. Alcohol policy is changing in the province, but the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is not taking health into account, despite the fact that alcohol is the second most harmful risk factor for disease and disability in developed countries.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit asked the board to write a letter to Premier Wynne and to copy the Minister of the Attorney General, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and the Minister of Finance. The board is calling for a tri-ministerial council to oversee all policy directions of the Ontario government related to alcohol to ensure that population health impacts and health disparities are considered. They are also asking that the mandate of the AGCO be expanded to protect the health of the public.

Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health, reiterated the facts: more alcohol availability means more alcohol sold; more alcohol sold means more consumption; more consumption means more disease; and more disease means more health and societal costs.

Web-based food inspection reports coming in 2014

The Simcoe Muskoka board of health was briefed last week on the progress of a web-based tool being developed to give the public easier access to food establishment inspection reports. The system would give the public a quick way to look up past inspection reports on restaurants and other locations where food is served. Similar online systems are in use in most other health units across the province. It is anticipated that the system will be available to the public in the fall of 2014. The health unit conducts routine inspections of nearly 4,000 food premises in Simcoe and Muskoka.

COMOH makes energy 

policy recommendations

Dr. Charles Gardner, along with Public Health and Preventive Medicine Resident, Dr. Nikhil Rajaram, informed the Simcoe Muskoka board of health about a review they completed regarding the public health implications of energy policy in Ontario. The research demonstrated clear links between energy and public health, from the impact of fossil fuels on health and climate change, to the increasing demands on energy grids and the impact of brownouts on food safety, hospitals and vaccine storage.

Based on this review, the Council of Ontario’s Medical Officers of Health (COMOH) drafted and sent a letter to the Minister of Energy, asking the province to consider a number of items, including: that the long-term energy plan include the improvement of health and health equity for Ontarians; a continued commitment to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and to aggressively replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.


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