Public health units in Guelph, Waterloo, Peel and Halton to be merged by province

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says they have been told by the Ontario Government that they will soon be merged with health units in Waterloo, Halton and Peel regions.

Officials said they were notified by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on Monday.

READ MORE: Ontario budget proposes consolidating 35 public health units into 10 regional entities

Once the merger is completed, WDG Public Health said the new health unit will be the largest in the province.

“Although the public health unit is going to be much bigger, key public health services will still continue to be delivered locally,” Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for WDG Public Health, said in an email.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the specific boundaries of the new regional health units will be finalized in consultation with municipalities.

Working groups on the issue are expected to launch shortly, they stated.

“We are in direct contact with all public health units to provide information about our modernization plan and to answer questions,” the spokesperson stated.

WATCH: Ontario Budget 2019: PCs say it’s consolidating health agencies, networks

News of the merger comes a month after the Ontario budget proposed consolidating the province’s 35 public health units into 10 regional agencies by 2021.

READ MORE: Ontario Health super agency to co-ordinate provincial health-care system

The move is intended to reduce health-care bureaucracy and overlapping administration duties, which the government has projected will result in annual savings of $200 million by 2022.

“WDG Public Health is looking forward to starting conversations with other health units to ensure the new regional public health unit continues to meet the needs of municipalities, local communities and residents,” Mercer said.

— With files from Global News’ Jessica Vomiero

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

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