Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Windsor, January 16, 2020. Blackburn News file photo.Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Windsor, January 16, 2020. Blackburn News file photo.

Budget issues result in health unit announcing staff cuts

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has announced what it called "difficult" decisions regarding its 2024 budget.

The health unit announced Friday afternoon that due to provincial funding not keeping up with inflation, staffing and programming levels will be affected. These include a ten per cent reduction in staff, or 24 union and non-union positions.

"Work associated with COVID-19 response, including outbreaks, case and contact management, and vaccination is ongoing," said WECHU CEO Dr. Kenneth Blanchette in a statement. "However, provincial funding will no longer be available. These factors, in combination with an internal program review, created the basis for difficult but essential decisions related to reductions for the coming year."

The actual number of potential layoffs could be fewer than 24, affected by attrition and voluntary retirements.

The health unit will continue to operate a variety of programs, including nutrition and healthy eating, infectious disease prevention, substance use prevention and harm reduction, school health promotion, immunization, and others. Service levels, though, may be affected.

"We are committed to ensuring reductions in services and programs are communicated quickly to our clients and partners," said Blanchette. "Our team has been through numerous challenges and changes over the past several years. I am proud of the work of the WECHU and the resilience our staff continue to demonstrate."

Further details on the health unit's 2024 budget will soon be available on its official website.

Read More Local Stories