Here is another article about the efforts of the cities and provinces to keep bedbugs away from their more vulnerable residents.
Around $1.2 million in one-time funding from the Ontario Health Ministry to combat bed bug infestations among Toronto’s most vulnerable populations runs out March 31.
Dr. David McKeown, the city’s chief medical officer of health, told health board members the funding is helping treat bed bugs in vulnerable populations.
“These are complex situations, they take a lot of effort in order to deal with them effectively,” he told the board Friday.
With the provincial cash, public health’s bed bug team assessed 4,146 units between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2011. Of those units around 978 had bed bugs.
The team coordinated 175 extreme cleanings and unit preparations for vulnerable residents before their units were treated for bed bugs, referred 59 vulnerable residents to public health nurses and responded to 1,248 bed bug service requests from the public.
McKeown warned the funding could end before current work on resolving some bed bug infestations has been completed and the health unit isn’t seeing any “let up” in the identification of new severe infestations.
He said city budget cutbacks also mean the health unit can’t pick up the cost of the bed bug work if the provincial funding stops.
The health board also voted to have staff find ways for the city to tackle bed bug infestations more aggressively, particularly in buildings where nothing is being done about the pests.
Board member Councillor Paula Fletcher asked staff to find a way for the city to go in and clean up bed bugs in buildings where landlords refuse to tackle the problem. The cost of the clean-up would be added to the landlord’s tax bill.
“If a landlord is chronically refusing to deal with bed bugs the city could go in or public health could go in, do the clean-up and put it on the tax bill,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher and the rest of the board also asked staff to develop a scale to measure bed bug infestations in buildings and determine a point when the problem would be made public.
“I think that might get some more action,” she said, adding it would be similar to the city’s restaurant inspection notification.
“I think that is quite a helpful thing for people to know … and then I think things will get cleaned up a lot faster,” Fletcher said.
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