Layoffs won't affect service levels

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News

The layoff of public health nurses will have no effect on the service provided to Grey-Bruce residents, a health unit spokesperson said.

The Grey-Bruce Public Health Unit is preparing to lay off the equivalent of four full-time staff members. The unit is in negotiations with the nurses’ union to determine how many people will lose their jobs. Through job sharing and part-time work, the unit is hoping to minimize the amount of job loss.

Late last year, the health unit moved into a new headquarters in Owen Sound. Prior to the move, staff had been working in two buildings simultaneously. Spokesperson Drew Ferguson said the move from a two-building setup to just a single office meant the number of staff could be cut down.

Ferguson also said the layoffs are a result of fiscal responsibility. According to Provincial guidelines, health units can’t run a deficit in their budget. The cutbacks were made to ensure the unit could operate efficiently under its budget restraints. The health unit receives 75 per cent of its funding from the Provincial government; the remaining 25 per cent comes equally from Bruce and Grey Counties.

The layoffs will have no impact on the quality of care being offered to area residents. Service levels will remain at their current levels and Ferguson said some services, including vaccinations, have actually increased despite the financial cutbacks.

The Grey-Bruce Public Health Unit is comprised of approximately 180 staff members. It is administered by a board of representatives from across the two counties that include elected officials, provincial appointees and non-voting members. Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer is the current chair of the board.