The Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors, Ontario Branch, strongly supports the Government of Ontario's enhancement of the legislative framework to ensure minimum standards for senior care, safety and security in retirement homes. Protection of vulnerable seniors in retirement homes is a complex issue that requires monitoring and enforcement of standards and legislation by inspectors with competence in, and ready access to the full range of public health professions, programs and services available to support senior health.
Under the first set of proposed regulations under the Act, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) will be responsible for the appointment of inspectors for the investigation and enforcement functions for the new mandatory standards. The inspectors will enforce many of the proposed administrative and care standards. However, the proposal is to also have them enforce safety, pest control, infection control, and food preparation standards. These areas are traditionally overseen and fully enforceable by Certified Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) under the authority of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA).
The Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors, along with other public health organizations, has made submission to the Government of Ontario with recommendations for changes we feel are necessary for the efficient and effective implementation of this new and important regulation.
To see the full text of our recommendations submitted April 2011, please click here
In order to protect public health from the impacts of air pollution, several government and non-government agencies at all levels have been working on tools and strategies to inform the public on how to monitor, assess and reduce their public health risks due to air pollution. Since 2001, Environment Canada and Health Canada have been developing a national, health risk-based index – known as the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) – through a multi-stakeholder process involving the provinces, municipalities and members from the health and environmental non-government organization community.
The Air Quality Health Index will help Canadians better understand how to protect their health from local air pollution on a daily, or even hourly, basis. This is similar to the UV Index that helps Canadians protect themselves from sun exposure. The AQHI assesses the cumulative health impact of ground-level ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) to calculate an index number from 1 to 10+.
In August 2010 the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA), the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors, Ontario Branch (CIPHI), and the Association of Supervisors of Public Health Inspectors of Ontario (ASPHIO) wrote a letter to request that the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care:
1) Support an expansion of the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) across the Province, 2) Support replacement of the Air Quality Index (AQI) with the AQHI to eliminate public confusion about these public awareness tools, and 3) Take a lead role in province-wide promotion of the AQHI as a public health tool.
A drowning occurred when a group of young children were unsupervised by their attendants in a supervised public pool facility. A coroner's investigation into the matter noted that if the attendants had stayed and supervised the young children, the drowning may not have occurred. In response to this event, the Coroner's Office, along with numerous stakeholders, developed Admission Standards to prevent such tragedies in the future.
CIPHI, Ontario Branch, has addressed a letter to the MOHLTC endorsing the inclusion of the revised Admission Standards for Public Pools in Regulation 565 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, making these standards mandatory across the province.