Toronto’s medical officer ‘at a loss for words’ over public health funding cuts

Toronto and province at odds over size of public health cuts
WATCH ABOVE: The City of Toronto is painting a dramatic picture of what a $1 Billion cut in provincial funding to Toronto Public Health will look like. Matthew Bingley reports.

Toronto’s medical officer of health is speaking out against cuts the province is making to the city’s public health budget.

Dr. Eileen de Villa says public health initiatives appear to be invisible when they work because they prevent disease, so it is easy to take them for granted.

READ MORE: Ontario government to slash funding to Toronto Public Health, officials say

She says public health units also play a key role in relieving the pressure on the province’s primary care system by ensuring people don’t become ill in the first place.

De Villa says changes to the cost-sharing between the city and province have left her at a loss for words.

The province notified health units late last week that it will reduce cost-sharing from levels of 100 per cent or 75 per cent, to 60 to 70 per cent for some municipalities.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Toronto Public health issues warning after person with measles visits mall

In Toronto’s case, the cost-sharing for some programs drops to 50-50 by 2021.

The city estimates that will mean a cut of more than $1 billion over a decade – a figure the province has disputed.