Governance background

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) exists to protect and promote the health of all Ottawa residents. The Board of Health (BOH) is responsible for upholding standards under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and other legislation, and for establishing the overall objectives and priorities of OPH.

In May 2008, the City's Community and Protective Services Committee passed a motion directing OPH staff to consult with members of the public regarding the establishment of a new BOH governance model designed to improve stewardship of public health programs and ensure a continued ability to anticipate and respond to local community health needs.

The recommended governance structure was referred to City Council for consideration in conjunction with the City’s overall governance report and was subsequently approved by Council in June 2009. At that meeting, the City Clerk and Solicitor was directed to proceed with an application to the Province of Ontario to amend the City of Ottawa Act, 1999 in order to provide the legislative authority necessary to implement the new BOH governance structure.

City staff conducted discussions with provincial representatives from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care regarding the best approach for implementing the necessary legislative changes. Following this, in March 2010, the Ontario Minister of Finance tabled Bill 16 in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Bill 16, includes amendments to the City of Ottawa Act, 1999 and establishes a new governance model for the BOH.

Briefly, Bill 16 amends the City of Ottawa Act to:

  • Direct Council to appoint all members of the Board, including public members
  • Specify that the City's policy with respect to the use of the English and French languages will apply to the new Board of Health
  • Direct the City to provide to the Board all public health employees that the City considers necessary to enable the Board to carry out its functions

The new governance structure of the Board of Health was approved on December 8, 2010.

On December 15, 2010, six Council members were selected to serve on the Board. On March 10, 2011, the five public members were appointed by Council.

The Province of Ontario amended the City of Ottawa Act, 1999, which results in the legal legitimacy of the new Ottawa Board of Health on April 28, 2011.

Public Health Units

Local public health units are responsible for ensuring the delivery of public health programs and services in the rural and urban areas of Ontario. There are 36 public health units in Ontario. To learn more, visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Ottawa Public Health is required to adhere to the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Ontario Public Health Standards.

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