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Issues over fair representation at local health units are being raised

A Northern Ontario mayor says the trouble that a northern health unit got into last year could have ramifications for health units province-wide.  Algoma Public Health came under the microscope when improprieties at the agency forced the minister of health to order a review.  That review now has a consultant suggesting that the health unit’s board of directors have certain skill sets.

But the mayor of Elliot Lake, Dan Marchisella opposes this.  Currently city councils appoint the directors and Marchisella says that’s to ensure municipal representation.  He says if the minister adopts the skill set recommendation, it puts other health units on dangerous ground for the mistakes of one agency.

He says the minister will basically set a precedence for how health unit boards should be chosen.  Marchisella says if a health unit needs specialists like an accountant or lawyer, then it should hire them but these people should not be directors.

The Porcupine Health Unit currently has 18 members, 12 of which are municipal representatives. Timmins Mayor Steve Black, along with Councillors Pat Bamford, André Grzela, and Andrew Marks sit on the board. Provincial representatives include Gilles Chartrand, Gilbert Hébert and Marie Leonard.

(Written by: Rocco Frangione)

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