Ontario names adviser to lead consultations on public health amalgamations

Health Minister Christine Elliott said Thursday the new adviser, Jim Pine, will help the government engage in ‘renewed’ discussions with public health experts and civic leaders over plans to consolidate Ontario’s 35 health units into 10. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Ontario has appointed a special adviser to lead cross-province consultations on the government’s planned health unit amalgamations.

The province says Jim Pine will help it engage in “renewed” discussions with public health experts and civic leaders over plans to consolidate Ontario’s 35 health units into 10.

Pine currently serves as the chief administrative officer for the County of Hastings, and is a former board member of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

The province announced the planned changes this spring, sparking concern from public health officials that they could affect the delivery of programs and lead to layoffs.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government is still committed to the reforms but wants to consult more widely before moving ahead.

Pine will also consult municipalities on proposed changes to ambulance services and report back to the government.