Public Health in Ontario
How public health services help you stay healthy through early detection, treatment and education.
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Public health programs
Ontario’s public health programs have 3 main focuses:
- improve food and water safety, such as handling toxic waste and reducing air pollution
- reduce second-hand smoke
- improve public sanitation
- control the spread of rabies
- vaccinate against major infectious diseases
- screen newcomers to Canada for tuberculosis
Provides tests where the early detection of an illness or health problem can lead to major improvements in health. Examples include:
- Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program
- dental exams for school children
- screening for breast and cervical cancer
- quitting smoking and other tobacco use
- healthy eating
- staying active
- preventing injuries for a safer province
- using birth control and improving reproductive health
- preventing and treating sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS
Who offers public health programs
Public health programs are delivered across the province by 36 public health units. A public health unit is a government health agency. They are set up by one or more municipalities to provide community health programs. These programs are carried out by full-time, specially qualified staff.
Who manages Public Health
Each public health unit is run by a medical officer of health. This medical officer reports to a local board of health. The board is largely made up of elected representatives from the local municipal councils. The ministry shares the cost of public health programs with the municipalities.
Who handles disease prevention
Testing and other expertise for disease prevention and health education in the province is provided through 12 public health laboratories.