The increase brings the amount it receives from the province up to more than $17.9 million. This number represents about 75 per cent of the health unit's budget, as the other 25 per cent comes from the municipalities it serves.
Sudbury and district medical officer of health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe said while the health unit would love a large funding boost to launch new programs, the two-per-cent increase is enough to maintain and even expand its services.
“In these times of really severe economic constraints, I think that any increase really is a symbol of investment and a signal of support for public health,” Sutcliffe said, speaking to reporters after an Aug. 28 press conference.
“I'm very, very pleased with it.”
Sutcliffe said the health unit plans to use the new funding to intensify some of the work it currently does.
“So for example, we'll continue with our sexual health programs, but we'll continue to try to so in a way that really does try to do more and more outreach to people who are more vulnerable.”
The funding increase also gives the health unit the ability to be “nimble” if it has to respond to an unexpected public health crisis, Sutcliffe said.
Sudbury and District Board of Health chair Ron Dupuis said at the press conference the health unit provides many great programs, but it wouldn't be able to do so without its provincial and municipal funders.
“Again, it all boils down to a matter of finances,” he said. “With what you're bringing today, it's certainly going to assist us in delivering a lot more services.”
Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci, who made the funding announcement on behalf of the province, said he'd love it if the health unit were receiving an even bigger base funding increase.
“But this is a time when you have to make choices,” he said. “A two-per-cent increase is a good increase for the public health units across the Ontario.”
He said in a press release the Sudbury and District Health Unit is “quintessential” to safeguarding Sudburians' health.
“Our government remains committed to continuing vital health and wellness programming and services in our communities.”