Board of Health and Communications


Category: Board of Health
Subject: Board of Health and Communications
Division: N/A
Policy Number: CA.45.01.503
Effective Date: December 7, 2016


This policy supports the vision and goals of the Strategic Communications Plan and the Emergency Communications Plan while establishing the fundamental parameters that inform any communications plan regarding the Chair of the Board of Health (Chair), Board of Health (BOH) members, the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) and Senior Management.

This policy ensures the Chair and BOH members continue to be apprised of any issue or event impacting the operations or reputation of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH). 

This policy will support BOH members in reinforcing organizational messages. 

The Communications department in close consultation with the MOH, Senior Management and, when necessary, the Chair has a primary responsibility for coordinating corporate communications with all stakeholders, including the BOH members.  


This policy applies to the Chair, all BOH members, the MOH, Senior Management, the Corporate Communications Manager, and staff who are identified as delegate spokespersons.


The Chair or Designate will:

Speak on behalf of the entire BOH on all governance matters or decisions;
Act as key spokesperson at all appropriate public events involving the work of WDGPH; and
Convey to management any concerns or questions where the BOH requires clarification on communications initiatives or messaging.

BOH Members will:

  • Act as ambassadors for WDGPH in the communities they represent;
  • Support duly approved BOH decisions while speaking as a BOH member in their community;
  • Defer any media inquiry regarding BOH decisions to the Chair or designate;
  • Be apprised by Communications of any media coverage related to a WDGPH initiative;
  • Be apprised by Communications of any communications initiative arising from emerging issues, crisis or emergencies;
  • Be able to ask, through the Chair, any question necessary for clarification regarding an initiative or issue that impacts their communities or stakeholders who may come to them for information; and
  • Reinforce public messaging around health promotion and injury and disease prevention.  In addition to regular BOH reports and minutes, BOH members will have access to communications vehicles such as the Annual Community Report, the In touch with WDGPH newsletter, media releases and key messages.

The MOH or Designate will:

  • Act as the key spokesperson on day-to-day operations;
  • Act as the key spokesperson on all clinical or medical matters including Section 13, 22 of the HPPA;
  • Act as the key spokesperson in all matters related to an emergency;
  • Work with the Chair to coordinate key messages during any public event or media release; and
  • Request, as required, an emergency BOH Executive Committee meeting in the event of an emerging issue or emergency, as listed in the WDGPH By-Laws.

The Communications Department will:

  • Ensure the Chair, BOH members, the MOH and Senior Management are aware of any communication initiative that impacts the public reputation or operations of WDGPH, including the distribution of all media releases or media mentions;
  • Coordinate public communication initiatives involving the BOH, with the MOH and Chair or designate;
  • Provide the BOH members with copies of the Chair’s prepared key messages so they can give consistent messaging to community stakeholders;
  • Prepare annual reports on Communications for the BOH’s information;
  • Complete an annual audit of internal communications strategies for BOH members including determining the communication needs of the BOH and the appropriate communication method for each member to receive information both in the normal course of events and when the Emergency Communications Plan is activated;
  • Prepare event-specific communications plans for key events noting any specific BOH role along with communication goals, initiatives and key messages; and
  • Ensure the Strategic Plan, organizational policies and procedures, minutes of all BOH and BOH Committee meetings, and other relevant BOH documents are posted on the Agency website.

In the Event of an Emergency:

  • In case of a declared emergency or when the Incident Management System (IMS) is activated, Communications will follow the Emergency Communications Plan which is part of the overall Emergency Plan.


Corresponding Procedure:  N/A
Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA)

«copy and paste but insert links to other P&P when possible»


Office of the Medical Officer of Health


Chair of the Board of Health