User Fee Policy
Chief Executive Officer
DATE OF ISSUE
Director of Corporate Services
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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is a publicly funded entity. The WECHU is responsible for delivering programs and services in accordance with the Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS). If the WECHU determines, based upon the nature of the service being delivered, that a user fee is reasonable and appropriate, the WECHU must have policies and procedures providing guidance on the assessment of services for which a user fee could apply, and how the user fee should be established.
Purpose and Scope
The purpose of the policy is to provide guidance on the establishment of user fees by the WECHU. Such fees may be charged for services that exceed the requirements of the Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS), are not already funded by the Province of Ontario, the Federal Government, or other funding agency. User fees should provide for either full or partial cost-recovery of the service. Costs to be recovered through user fees include salaries, benefits, and material costs incurred to support the delivery of the service.
Roles and Responsibilities
Director and/or Manager:
- Identify or assess whether a user fee shall apply to a service based upon the User Fee Policy;
- Review the cost-recovery model;
- Review the user fee with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Leadership Team (LT), if appropriate;
- Identify service(s) that should be subject to a user fee in accordance with the User Fee Policy and discuss with their Director;
- Compile the cost-recovery model and discuss with their Director;
- Compilation of a Board Recommendation Report for review and approval.
Director of Corporate Services
- Review of services subject to user fees to ensure that they are appropriate and in accordance with the User Fee Policy;
- Review the User Fee Policy on a three (3) year basis or more frequently if determined appropriate, with approval required by the Board of Health.
The WECHU shall assess services delivered to determine if a user fee should be charged in accordance with the required procedure. In general, the assessment should consider whether the OPHS provides guidance on the application of a user fee to a service, and what benefit the service conveys to a specific individual, group or business (i.e. allowing an individual to earn income). If appropriate, a user fee shall be charged to fully or partially recover the cost of providing that service.
The calculation of the user fee shall include reference to the time required to deliver the service, the role(s) required to deliver the service, and material(s) required to deliver the service. On an annual basis, the calculation of the user fee shall be reviewed to ensure that it continues to be appropriate, in that it either fully or partially recovers the cost of providing the service.
The User Fee policy shall be reviewed by the WECHU on a three (3) year basis, or more frequently if appropriate, and approved by the Board of Health.
A Director and/or Manager identifies a service provided to determine whether a user fee should be charged. The assessment should include:
- Determination whether the OPHS permits or prohibits a user fee for the service.
- Review to ensure that the service is not funded by the Province of Ontario, Federal Government or other funding agency.
- If permitted, and no other funding source is available, the Director and/or Manager would identify the benefit to be conveyed by the service and whether the user fee would be a barrier to the service. The following should be considered:
- Public service – Does the service provide benefit to the general public? If so, would a user fee act as a barrier limiting the ability for the general public to access the service?
- Private Service – Does the service provide benefit to an individual, group or business? If so, would a user fee act as a barrier limiting the ability for the individual, group, or business to access the service?
- Mixed service – Does the service provide benefit to the general public and the private sector? If so, would a user fee act as a barrier limiting the ability for the general public or specific individual, group or business to access the service.
- In addition to the assessment above, the Director or Manager shall solicit feedback from other Public Health Units as to whether they are charging a user fee and if so, how much?
- The Manager would compile a cost recovery model that considers the following:
- The time required to perform the service in its entirety;
- The salary and benefit costs incurred for the WECHU staff involved in the process;
- The materials required to support the provision of services.
Once the cost recovery model is developed the Manager shall review with the Director and arrive at an appropriate user fee. The proposed user fee can either be a full or partial cost recovery model.
- The Director shall discuss the assessment of the service, the proposed user fee and the communication plan with the impacted user groups, with the CEO and LT, if appropriate.
- The Manager shall compile a recommendation report in support of the user fee for review and approval by the Board. The report shall include a summary of the assessment completed, the results of the survey with other Public Health Units, a summary of the proposed user fee and the communication plan with relevant user groups.
Failure to comply with this Policy and any associated Procedures may result in appropriate disciplinary measures. Please see WECHU’s Discipline Policy.