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Do One Thing  On May 27-28, 2014 the Northwestern Health Unit will be holding the Do One Thing conference at the Whitecap Pavilion in Kenora. The conference will bring together the most influential minds in Northwestern Ontario. Participants will learn, network, and engage in discussions about improving the health of residents through the themes of community, workplace, and partnerships. Please go here for program and registration information.

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Milestones and History
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History of Public Health Units in Ontario

The pattern of local public health services administration for Ontario was established in 1833 when the Legislature of Upper Canada passed an Act allowing local municipalities "to establish Boards of Health to guard against the introduction of malignant, contagious and infectious disease in this province.” This delegation of public health responsibility to the local level established 150 years ago has persisted to the present day. There are currently 36 health units in Ontario: 22 independent of local municipal government; 7 regional health departments; and 7 health units tied in to single-tier or other municipal administration.

Important Public Health Milestones

1873 The first Public Health Act was passed.
1882  The first board of health was established.
1884 A more comprehensive Public Health Act was prepared by Dr. Peter B. Bryce. This Act established the position of the medical officer of health and the relationship with the board of health. Within two years of passage, 400 boards of health were in operation.
1912 The Public Health Act was amended so that health units could be established on a county basis.
1934 The first county-wide health unit was established with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. It included the four eastern counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, and Prescott. At this time, Ontario had 800 local boards of health and 700 medical officers of health, most of whom were part-time.
 1945 The Public Health Act was amended so that provincial grants could be provided to municipalities for the establishment of health units. Six health units were in place by the end of 1945.
1950  Twenty-five county and 12 municipal health units were in place which served two thirds of the population of Ontario.
1965  Fifty-four boards of health were in place, which served 95 percent of the population.
1967 The Public Health Act was amended so that organized municipalities were required to provide full-time public health services. The District health unit concept was introduced based on the collective experience of operating health units in Ontario. Economies of scale concepts were introduced which suggested optimum population sizes (100,000) for health unit catchment areas. The province encouraged health units to regroup on a multi-county basis to become more efficient.
1983 The Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) was proclaimed, replacing the Public Health Act. The Act was amended in 1990 making slight changes to its contents.
1997 The HPPA was revised as part of Bill 152, the Services Improvement Act. Current edition of the Mandatory Health Programs and Services Guidelines published.
2004 The government of Ontario announces Operation Health Protection: an Action Plan to Prevent Threats to our Health and to Promote a Healthy Ontario.
2005  The government of Ontario announces the creation of the new Ministry of Health Promotion, which will focus on programs dedicated to healthy lifestyles
2006 The Smoke-Free Ontario Act is introduced, which bans smoking in all enclosed public places
2006 The government of Ontario introduces the Health System Improvements Bill (#171) that will include enabling legislation for an Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, Ontario’s "CDC of the North”.
2007 The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to increase its grant to boards of health to 75% of the budgeted amount.
2007 The Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion is established in Toronto.
2007 The Ontario Government announces publicly funding the HPV vaccine.
2008  The Ontario Public Health Standards are completed in collaboration with boards of health and Ontario public health professionals. They came into effect on January 1, 2009.
2009  The Initial Report on Public Health is released by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as the first step in developing an accountability framework for boards of health.
2010 The Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion changes its operational name to Public Health Ontario
2011 The Ontario Government announces publicly funding the Rotavirus vaccines