Province expected to offset COVID-19 costs to district health unit

SUDBURY – While the province of Ontario has not yet provided funding to Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) for expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical officer of health assured the board of health at a meeting last week that financial assistance will be forthcoming.

“On the financial statements, it shows that the health unit has spent $1.2 million on COVID-19,” said Ken Noland, a member of the board of health, at a meeting last week. “Have we received any word from the province on providing assistance? And if not, is there anything we as a municipality can do, write letters or lobby the government for support so they will cough up some money?”

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe told the board, “I am not concerned about this. There is a process in place to reimburse health units for their COVID-19 pandemic costs. I have been reassured of this many times (by the province) and we have submitted costs in regards to COVID-19.” 

“It is expected health units will be provided funds that cannot be recovered through our budgets. The process is well under way. We anticipate there will be support provided,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. 

“That’s good,” stated Mr. Noland. “I just wanted to make sure they haven’t forgotten about us.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic response of $1,206,970, there is a deficit of $443,655 currently showing on the PHSD financial statements. 

Dr. Sutcliffe told the Recorder after the meeting, “the province has indicated that they anticipated with the pandemic there would be extra costs associated for health units, and that they would be offsetting these extra costs to our budget. We’ve been documenting these costs, and what we are projecting.” At the end of the year these extraordinary costs are expected to be covered by the province, she said.