Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is the proverbial early bird that gets the worm in 2023 with the first board, committee or council meeting in 2023! The first meeting of the Board of Health this term will see a new chair and executive elected before diving into the current state of public health and some insight into the area’s food insecurity concerns.
NOTE #1: This meeting will be available to watch online, but you will have to send a request to join the meeting via an online form that you can find here. Deadline to send in the request is Wednesday January 4 at 11 am.
NOTE #2: The meeting begins at 2 pm.
2023 Inaugural Meeting Elections and Nominations – First things first, the new board has to take care of some housekeeping. The board will elect a new chair, vice-chair, secretary-treasurer, and the membership of the various standing committees. They will also confirm the dates and times for future board meetings, board remuneration, and the appointment of the auditors.
MOH Update – As usual, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer will offer a verbal report on current public health activities. Look for COVID-19, and the current state of the cold and flu season to be topics of conversations in Mercer’s remarks.
Presentation: Nutritious Food Basket 2022 Report – This is Public Health’s report on food insecurity in the region, and the numbers are kind of startling. Based on the survey conducted by a public health nutritionist and a trained health promotion specialist, and using seven area grocery stores that were both independent and chain as guides, the cost of supplying an average family of four with nutritious food is $272.67 per week or $1180.66 per month. At those costs, there’s not a lot of money left over for other types of families, like a single parent household with two children; one person on ODSP or Ontario Works is already underwater after paying the grocery bill.
The highest risk groups for food insecurity include low-income households, households with limited assets (e.g., homeownership, savings), Indigenous households and other racial/cultural groups, female-led lone parent households and households reliant on income supports. The report also notes that the 2021 survey showed an increase in food insecurity among University of Guelph students beyond the 20 per cent level established in 2019. The pandemic itself has also made food insecurity a new experience for many households in the area.
Another interesting fact in the report is that in 2020 an estimated $33 billion in food was provided to charities in Canada, of which there are 39 in Guelph and Wellington. Also, there are four times the number of food charities in Canada versus the number of grocery stores. Unfortunately, this is an information report with no recommendations to improve the situation, but it paints a stark picture of the challenges in our community.
Health Protection Q3 Summary Report – No report was attached to the initial board agenda. Christopher Beveridge, director of health protection, will present.
Correspondences – The correspondences this month are simply the list of all the council appointments to the board from the City of Guelph, County of Wellington and County of Dufferin, plus the appointment from the Executive Council of Ontario. (Reminder: Councillors Linda Busuttil, Erin Caton, and Rodrigo Goller.) Former Board of Health chair and Minto Mayor George Bridge has also been appointed as Wellington County’s citizen representative.
2022 IT Security Report – Because this matter deals with the security of property at the Board of Health, it has to be discussed in-camera.
Governance Training – This one is a closed session item because it involves advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose.