Elgin County Council Highlights - October 24, 2023
Empowering Progress: Elgin County’s Support to Modernize the MFIPPA
Elgin County Council supported efforts to update and modernize the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). This comes in response to correspondence received from The Town of Bracebridge requesting advocacy for updates to this Act.
Elgin County Council directed the Warden to send a letter of support endorsing advocacy efforts, including but not limited to:
- Strengthening municipal accountability and transparency;
- Providing minimum standards for privacy management and breach protocols;
- Designating clerks as heads of municipalities under the Act;
- Regular review of the Act and General Regulation; and
- Ensuring that the Act is consistent with other applicable legislation.
For the complete list of efforts, please visit the Council Agenda package.
This letter will be sent to the Premier of Ontario, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery, Member of Provincial Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London, Local Municipal Partners, and the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks, and Treasurers of Ontario to express Elgin’s support for modernizing the Act.
Enhancing Spasticity Care in Elgin’s LTCHs: Renewed Two-Year Service Agreement
The Fixing Long-Term Care Act and Ontario Regulations 246/22 require a Specialized Physician agreement for providing specialized medical services to the residents of Bobier Villa, Elgin Manor, and Terrace Lodge, Elgin’s three Long-Term Care Homes (LTCHs).
The specialized physician’s role for spasticity management-neurotoxin therapy includes providing specialized medical services, such as spasticity management-neurotoxin therapy, as well as being accountable to the Medical Director for meeting the Home’s policies, procedures, and protocols for medical services.
The County of Elgin Homes had a successful agreement with Dr. Adam Kassam to provide spasticity management medical services. The County’s Director of Homes and Seniors Services has successfully negotiated a two-year agreement with Dr. Adam Kassam for providing specialized medical services (spasticity management) for Bobier Villa, Elgin Manor, and Terrace Lodge, which was approved and authorized by County Council.
Enhancing Mobility and Wellness: Achieva Health’s Physiotherapy Services Contract Extended for an Additional Two Years
Long-Term Care Home operators must provide onsite therapy services either through a contracted physiotherapy service or by qualified, regulated health professionals. The services include on-site physiotherapy, occupational therapy, positioning, transferring, mobility assessment, education and support, range of motion, and group exercise.
Elgin County Homes previously had a three-year agreement with Achieva Health for physiotherapy services, which could be extended for two years, subject to satisfactory performance.
Achieva Health has provided excellent service with positive resident outcomes over the past three years. County Council approved the increase in physiotherapy service fees and authorized extending the contract with Achieva Health from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2025.
Ensuring Seamless Pharmacy Services at Elgin County Homes
During the September 12th, 2023, County Council Meeting, the current Pharmacy Services agreement was extended until January 29, 2024, allowing for additional evaluation time and a potential transition outside the holiday season. Six proposals were received through the Request For Proposal (RFP) issued on June 12, 2023. Advantage Care Pharmacy was recommended by the Evaluation Committee to accept the contract.
County Council authorized staff to extend the contract for an additional two, two-year terms for a potential seven (7) year contract in accordance with section 7.6 of the County’s Procurement Policy, subject to satisfactory performance and mutual agreement between both parties during the initial three-year contract term.
Once the agreement is signed, staff will begin discussions with the current provider and Advantage Care to ensure a successful transition of pharmacy services. The transition of pharmacy services in all Elgin County Homes is planned for the week of January 29, 2024.
Boosting Southwestern Public Health: County Council’s Commitment to Community Well-Being
At a previous Council Meeting, County Council received a letter from Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) requesting programming funding, which was approved for $61,000. The County recently received a letter requesting additional support for their 2023 budget-based funding.
Southwestern Public Health requested a 4.5% base funding increase from the Ministry of Health but only received a 1% increase. As a supporting partner of SWPH, the County of Elgin and other funding partners are responsible for the unfunded portion of the additional increase if the Ministry does not support their request.
As per their budget letter to the County, Council approved a $99,657 request from Southwestern Public Health. Council also directed the Warden to send a letter to MPP Rob Flack, as well as Ontario Municipalities, detailing concerns with the current Public Health funding structure that requires local governments to cover such costs.
A Collaborative Approach to Taxation: Resolving Payment-in-Lieu Discrepancies
Payment(s)-in-Lieu are funds paid by the Province of Ontario or the Government of Canada to Municipalities for properties that would otherwise be exempt from tax assessment. The payments are not classified as taxes, and a portion of these funds are directed to school boards and the upper-tier municipal government.
During the County’s 2021 year-end review, inconsistencies were discovered in Payment(s)-in-Lieu from local Municipalities and related to the calculation of taxes that should have been forwarded to the County. The County Treasurer initiated discussions to investigate these inconsistencies. Interpretations of the rules of taxation differed between the County and some Local Municipal Partners, resulting in a historical calculation discrepancy.
Staff reports that Payment(s)-in-Lieu calculations are now annually reconciled with Local Municipal Partners and recommended that Council should not consider placing restrictions on reserves that penalize any of our Local Municipal Partners relevant to this issue.
Empowering the Arts: STEPAC’s Request for County Council Funding Increase
The St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre (STEPAC) has requested increased funding from the County of Elgin to continue providing diverse programs and activities for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Despite STEPAC’s efforts to raise funds, the funding allocation granted from the County of Elgin in 2008 has remained the same. The Public Art Centre notes that this hinders its ability to fulfill its mission effectively and impacts the quality and diversity of programs.
The Public Art Centre requested an increase in funding of $40,000 from the County of Elgin for 2024. County Council recommended that this correspondence be sent to the Budget Committee for discussions in the Budget development process for 2024 and that a letter be sent to STEPAC requesting additional details about the need for these additional funds.
For the complete October 24, 2023, County Council Agenda Package, please click here.