Breaking News – HKPR District Health Unit and Peterborough Health Unit to Merge

In Editor Choice, Local

HKPR District Health Unit and Peterborough Public Health look to strengthen public health together.

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the Boards of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit and Peterborough Public Health (PPH) announced that they will seek provincial approval and funding to voluntary merge.

In August 2023, the Ministry of Health announced plans to strengthen the public health sector by offering one-time funding, resources and supports to local public health agencies that decide to voluntarily merge by January 1, 2025.

In response to this announcement, the Boards of Health for HKPR District Health Unit and PPH decided to move forward with a process to explore the impacts of a voluntary merger. In November 2023, a Joint Board Merger Exploration Working Group was established with representatives from both health units and external consulting firm Sense & Nous to prepare a comprehensive Feasibility Assessment

Report. These findings were recently presented to both Boards of Health for consideration to help make an informed decision.

Throughout this process, it was quickly identified that both the HKPR District Health Unit and PPH have an extensive history of collaboration and share similar geographic, demographic, health status and population characteristics. Both organizations are also dedicated to reducing health inequities and addressing the most pressing public health challenges faced by the urban, rural and

Indigenous communities that they serve.

During their meeting on February 15, 2024, the HKPR District Health Unit Board of Health decided to proceed with a proposal to voluntary merge with Peterborough Public Health.

“We have been diligent in the timeframe provided to review and consider all possible outcomes and impacts of a voluntary merger,” said David Marshall, Chair for HKPR District Health Unit’s Board of Health. “Ultimately, we agreed that by merging with Peterborough Public Health we can strengthen our capacity to deliver exceptional public health programs and services and to better respond to the unique needs of our small urban and rural communities.”

During their meeting on February 21, 2024, the PPH Board of Health decided to proceed with a proposal to voluntary merger with the HKPR District Health Unit.

“Over the past several months, we have carefully examined how a merger can strengthen the services that we provide to our communities,” said Joy Lachica, Chair for the Peterborough Public Health Board of Health. “This process revealed that joining together offers us the best pathway possible to protect and promote public health and keep our residents healthy. We are thrilled to start this journey together.”

Next Steps

The HKPR District Health Unit and PPH Boards of Health will submit a joint voluntary merger application to the Ontario Government by April 2nd that demonstrates how a proposed merger would benefit the communities they serve, while supporting outcomes and priorities identified for public health by the Ministry of Health. Mergers of public health units require provincial legislative change, and as such this will not be definitive until the province has approved this and commits adequate funding for its success later in the year. Both PPH and HKPR District Health Unit will continue to operate independently during the provincial review period.

More Information
For more background information on the provincial public health voluntary merger:

Media Release: Ontario Investing in a Stronger Public Health Sector, Ministry of Health

Slide Deck: Strengthening Public Health – Outcomes and Objectives to Support Voluntary Mergers, Ministry of Health 

Media Release: Neighbouring Health Units to Explore Voluntary Merger, HKPR District Health Unit

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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