June 13, 2019 6:25 pm

Questions remain after Ontario health minister meets with London mayor

Middlesex-London Health Unit's medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie sits down with London Mayor Ed Holder and Ontario health minister Christine Elliott.

Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL
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Christine Elliott, Ontario’s minister of health and long-term care, stopped by 300 Dufferin Ave. on Thursday to meet with Mayor Ed Holder and medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie.

Up for discussion during the meeting was a planned permanent supervised consumption facility for the city.

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READ MORE: Health Minister defends rejection of York St. application but promises permanent supervised consumption site for London

According to Elliott, the meeting was one that focused on discussion rather than decisions.

“We had people from the ministry, who were here several days, that actually, physically looked at the two primary sites,” Elliott said.

“I’m here to listen and to understand better.”

Speaking to reporters, Holder maintained a grateful tone for Elliott’s appearance at London city hall.

“She came here with an open mind, she’s heard the case that we have made and she says that she’s going to take that back… and make determinations on where that site will be,” Holder said.

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The meeting comes a little more than a week after London’s medical officer of health told Global News Radio 980 CFPL that the province rejected a funding application for a permanent supervised consumption facility at 446 York St.

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When asked by reporters as to whether this rejection was influenced, in part, by lobbying, the health minister maintained that it did not play a role.

“We are looking at the same criteria for the location of every consumption and treatment services site in any location in Ontario,” Elliott said.

“That [criteria] is the need of the location to other services and, of course, the community involvement and participation.”

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Holder added that Elliott had confirmed a provincial funding commitment for London’s upcoming permanent supervised consumption facility. The commitment also ensures no disruption to services related to the funding, Holder said.

London currently has a temporary overdose prevention site on 186 King St.

Its lease is set to run out in March 2020.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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