April 2023 Board of Health Meeting - Minutes

Meeting Document Type

Board Members Present:

Renaldo Agostino, Joe Bachetti, Fabio Costante, Fred Francis, Judy Lund, Hilda MacDonald, Angelo Marignani, Michael Prue

Board Member Regrets:

Robert Maich, Rob Shepley

Administration Present:

Dr. Ken Blanchette, Lorie Gregg, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Kristy McBeth, Dan Sibley, Linda Watson, Konrad Farrugia

Administrative Regrets:

Eric Nadalin


  1. Call to Order
    Board of Health Chair, Fabio Costante, called the Regular meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
    1. Quorum - Confirmed
    2. Agenda Approval
      Motion: That the agenda be approved.
    3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
      No conflicts declared. 
  2. Introduction – K. Blanchette
    1. L. Watson, Director of Public Health Programs and Chief Nursing Officer

      Dr. Ken Blanchette introduced Linda Watson to the group. Linda Watson has joined the WECHU as a Director of Public Health Programs and Chief Nursing Officer. L. Watson has a vast array of knowledge and experience working in nursing settings, hospital settings, and as the Chair of Nursing at St. Clair College

  3. Acting Medical Officer of Health Update (Dr. S. Nesathurai)

    Dr. Nesathurai said the public health service manages a comprehensive group of programs. The programs are divided into two groups – Health Promotion and Health Protection. One program that is key to the WECHU’s mission and not always recognized is the Environmental Health department. There are 30 people who work in Environmental Health at the WECHU. The Environmental Health department includes public health inspectors, health promotion specialists, clerical support and two managers.

    There are approximately 3,000 food service venues across Windsor-Essex County. The Environmental Health team inspect all these food service venues which include restaurants, cafeterias, banquet halls, food trucks, grocery stores, etc. It is important to have good inspection of these food premises. Inspection includes an evaluation of the handling, preparation, cooking, storage, refrigeration, serving, and disposal of food items. It is a comprehensive assessment that includes people, processes and the equipment needed to keep a food service enterprise functioning. The service also inspects fairs and festivals. The key aspect regarding inspection is to prevent any foodborne illnesses that may affect hundreds or potentially thousands of people.

    In Windsor-Essex County there are approximately 550 personal service settings that include barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlours. Many of these sites are at-risk for bloodborne disease. Corrective measures and guidance is provided to these settings annually.

    There are also 160 water facilities in Windsor-Essex County. This includes pools, splash pads, and spas. These water-based services are also inspected by the Environmental Health team. Public beaches are also inspected by the WECHU. 

    There are 1,200 seasonal residents of agricultural workers who reside in bunkhouses which require inspection.

    The WECHU also works closely with municipal providers regarding water safety. There are 40 small water drinking systems in the health district. Primarily on Pelee Island. The water providers are also inspected.

    There are many inspections services that are provided. Inspection reports are available online and allow members of the community to make their own assessment based on the information provided. 

    As we move forward, we need to consider how the public health service can improve the lives of people. Health is more than just avoiding illness. Health includes all the items that might allow us to live a better quality of life and the Environmental Health team is advancing the public health mission of the WECHU.

    R. Agostino asked if there is a way to standardize the food handler course for businesses. R. Agostino said a different approach to learning about food handling instead of a standardized test may be more useful (i.e. working in groups). The food handler course does not seem to be the best way to educate staff.

    Dr. Blanchette said the educational aspect of the food handler course is standardized. Dr. Blanchette asked if R. Agostino was inquiring about the delivery method of the course.

    R. Agostino said he was inquiring about the delivery method of the course and the testing. 

    K. McBeth said that the Environmental Health department offers a free online food handler course and in-person option. The course has been translated into a number of languages (English, French, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish). Large numbers of people were not able to test at the same time during the pandemic. This will be changing soon and testing will resume to allow for the normal pre-pandemic amount of registrants. The food handler course is a provincial requirement.

  4. Approval of Minutes
    1. Regular Board Meeting:  March 23, 2023
      Motion: That the minutes be approved.
  5. Business Arising
    1. Consumption and Treatment Services Site Update (K. Blanchette)
      Dr. Blanchette said a media event took place at the Consumption and Treatment Services site (SafePoint) on Wednesday, April 19th. The Federal Government approved SafePoint to operate as an Urgent Public Health Needs Site. Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital will run the day-to-day operations at SafePoint. 

      Dr. Blanchette said he called all local MPs and MPPs to also let them know that the Federal Government approved SafePoint to operate as an Urgent Public Health Needs Site and to thank them for their efforts. Dr. Blanchette reminded the MPs and MPPs that focus will now shift to the permanent Provincial application.

      Counsellor Marignani said that he visited SafePoint and it gave him a sense of confidence that what is happening at SafePoint is part of the solution. Patrick Kolowicz, from Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital, provided Counsellor Marignani with a tour of the site. Also, there was a pothole that was identified as a tripping hazard near the entrance of the facility that will be filled immediately.

    2. Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA Compliance Update for Windsor-Essex County (K. McBeth)
      K. McBeth said that when this initiative started there were approximately 25,000 students (elementary and secondary) who were non-compliant (vaccinations and/or vaccination records not up to date). As of today there are less than 20 individuals who are non-compliant. Most of these individuals are no longer in the Windsor-Essex County district. The compliance rate as of April 5th, 2023 is 94%. This is one of the highest compliance rates the WECHU has ever achieved.

      K. McBeth said a new immunization coverage dashboard was launched today. The information focuses on coverage rates among 7 and 17 year olds in Windsor-Essex County for both ISPA required and non ISPA vaccines. The epidemiology team at the WECHU did an amazing job creating the dashboard. Windsor-Essex County meets and in some cases exceeds national vaccine goals where they exist and also meets and exceeds all provincial averages.

  6. Consent Agenda
      1. WECHU Oral Health Services and Oral Health Month (E. Nadalin)
      2. 2023 Strategic Plan Q1 Reporting (K. McBeth)
      3. Annual Service Plan Q1 2023 Reporting (K. McBeth)
      4. Communications (E. Nadalin)
        Motion: That the information be received.
  7. Resolutions/Recommendation Reports
    1. 2023/24 Budget for Program Funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (L. Gregg)
      L. Gregg presented the 2023-24 budget for the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services, specifically the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program and the Nurse Practitioner program. Combined this budget supports 25.75 FTEs and the totality of this funding is $2,894, 841. This budget is predominantly spent on salaries and benefits with a nominal operating budget of $116, 212. This budget is funded by the MCCSS. There is no cost sharing component for the municipalities. The WECHU is putting a recommendation forward to have this budget approved by the Board of Health prior to submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. 
      This year the program managers have provided certain metrics that will be monitored for the coming year.  
      Counsellor Francis asked about the Salaries and Benefits net increase of $10,580 and why the MOH would not cover this amount.

      L. Gregg said in the past there has not been an augment in this budget. This makes it very challenging on a year-by-year basis. There is always a need to look within the program to cover any augments or increases in salaries. L. Gregg said she is always looking for more funding for this program from the MOH but historically the WECHU has not been successful in this regard.

      L. Gregg said at the end of the year if there are variances in salaries due to unanticipated leaves or individuals posting into other programs not funded by this specific Ministry, funds can be redistributed from one line to another to cover additional costs.
      Motion:     That the budget be approved.

    2. 2023 One-time Business Cases (L. Gregg)
      L. Gregg said in January of 2023 the WECHU brought forward the mandatory program budget. Included in this budget were requests associated with COVID-19. This included the vaccination  and the case and contact management aspect of COVID-19. As part of the Annual Service Plan process the WECHU is allowed to submit several one-time 100% funded business cases to the MOH for various items. Enclosed in the recommendations report are requests put forward to the MOH in addition to the COVDI-19 requests that were previously brought forward.

      Counsellor Francis asked if the Information Technology request is for hardware or software.

      L. Gregg said that the IT request is for hardware, specifically servers. L. Gregg said the IT department will identify what data needs to be cleansed and destroyed when disposing of and/or donating servers. 

      Counsellor Francis asked if the Consulting Fee of $120,000 listed under Information Technology has already been tendered.

      L. Gregg confirmed that a consultant is already onboard and there was a tender issued to select a consultant.

      Counsellor Francis asked if WECHU is sub-contracting the leasehold improvements at the University of Windsor for a project manager or is this under one firm. If under one firm, would the firm not be responsible for hiring a project manager. 

      L. Gregg said the leasehold improvements are being completed by a general contractor hired by the University of Windsor.

      L. Gregg said the project manager fee is for WECHU to have a project manager on hand who advocates for WECHU. L. Gregg confirmed that a tender process was issued to select the WECHU project manager as well.
      Motion:    That the Board of Health approve the additional one-time business cases to be funded at a rate of 100% by the Ministry of Health.

  8. New Business
    1. CEO Report (K. Blanchette)

      Dr. Blanchette said an event was hosted at WECHU with Senator Sharon Bury. Senator Bury is the first Senator representing Windsor-Essex County in the last 40 years. The meeting was arranged by Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament. The conversation was primarily about 
       oral health within Windsor-Essex County. However, there were also discussions about  population health, health and poverty for children withing the community. Senator Bury has a few key initiatives that she is looking to instill with respect to nutrition in schools. If there is an opportunity to pilot programs and receive additional funding the WECHU will seek to do so.

    2. Association of Local Public Health Agencies – AGM June 13, 2023 (K. Blanchette)
      Dr. Blanchette said the next Annual General Meeting for the Association of Local Public Health Agencies will take place on June 13, 2023. If any board member wishes to attend this meeting in person please reach out to L. Damphouse for registration and travel arrangements.

  9. Correspondence
    1. Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit – Letter to Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, Canada -
      Support for Bill S-254 An Act to Amend the Food and Drugs Act (warning label on alcoholic beverages) – for information
      Motion:    That the Board received correspondence 9.1 for information.
  10. Committee of the Whole (CLOSED SESSION, in accordance with Section 239 of the Municipal Act)
    The Board moved into Committee of the Whole at 4:42 pm
    The Board moved out of Committee of the Whole at 5:00 pm
  11. Next Meeting: At the Call of the Chair or Thursday, May 18, 2023 @ 4:00 pm
  12. Adjournment
    Motion: That the meeting be adjourned.

    The meeting adjourned at 5:01 p.m.


SUBMITTED BY: K. Blanchette

APPROVED BY: WECHU Board of Health – May 18, 2023