Public Health

  • Bargaining Bulletin - October 2019 - Vol 1

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  • Provincial plans may put your health at risk
  • Public Health Collective Agreement
  • January 8, 2019 – Let’s Make 2019 the Year Canada Finally Gets Pharmacare

    January 8, 2019 – Let’s Make 2019 the Year Canada Finally Gets Pharmacare

    In 1964, after three years of study, Justice Emmett Hall, the Progressive Conservative judge and chair of the Royal Commission on Health Care Services, recommended that Canada create a system of universal health insurance. Politicians picked up the ball and ran with it, and for two generations we’ve had medicare. It’s not perfect but, compared with what came before, it’s an overwhelming success.

    Back in 1964, millions of Canadians were counting their pennies to pay the doctor; today, all Canadians are insured. Yet, medicare costs far less than the system in the United States, which leaves millions of Americans uninsured or underinsured. The U.S. health-care system, the world’s most expensive at more than 17 per cent of gross domestic product, is two-thirds more costly than ours. If we were spending as much on health care as our southern neighbours, it would eat up an extra $150-billion a year. And yet the average Canadian, remarkably, lives three years longer than the average American.

    Medicare works. But the version Canada got is less ambitious than what Justice Hall originally called for.

    The “establishment radical,” as his biographer called him, didn’t want to limit public insurance to doctors’ visits and stays in hospitals. He believed it also had to include prescription drugs. He suspected that pharmaceutical treatments would come to play an ever greater role in medical care, and he was right.

    That’s why it’s time for Canada to finally include prescription drugs in medicare. It’s time to create a national pharmacare program. And in 2019, if the political stars align, that’s just what Canada might get.

    Every major Canadian report on health care since Justice Hall has called for a comprehensive pharmacare program. The consensus view is that it would improve public health while simultaneously lowering drug costs. It would do for drugs what medicare did for the rest of health care.

    When it comes to getting medical treatment from a doctor or a hospital, Canada has universal health insurance. In the United States, it’s what the Democratic Party’s presidential aspirants are about to start pitching to American voters, under the banner of “Medicare for All.”

    But when it comes to drugs, the Canadian system is the broken American system. If you’re hospitalized and you’re given prescription meds, it’s free. But once you walk out of the hospital with a prescription to fill, you may be on your own. Coverage is a mix of private insurance and out-of-pocket spending, with the provinces and territories filling some of the gaps with a grab bag of local programs, each unique to its jurisdiction, for groups such as seniors and the poor.

    In terms of pharmaceutical coverage, Canada in 2019 still looks a lot like Canada circa 1964.

    And that has led to two problems – the same problems premedicare Canada suffered from, and which still afflict the U.S. health-care system.

    First problem: While most Canadians have workplace drug insurance, part-time workers, the self-employed and the precariously employed or unemployed usually aren’t among them. Even for those with insurance, it’s contingent on remaining with the same employer. Government programs are limited and selective, creating a safety net that’s filled with holes.

    As a result, many Canadians on medication don’t take it as prescribed by their physician, for reasons of cost. A recent Angus Reid survey found that nearly one in four Canadians said that was true of someone in their household. A 2013 study found that 10 per cent of Canadians were not properly taking a medication because of cost – compared with just 2 per cent in the United Kingdom, where drug coverage is part of the public health system.

    Second problem: In a largely privatized system, the government has little ability to control costs. That’s true across the U.S. health-care system and in Canada when it comes to meds. Canadians are the world’s third-highest spenders on drugs, at nearly $1,100 per person in 2017. The British, in contrast, spend barely more than half as much. Their public system gives them the ability to negotiate better deals and put downward pressure on drug prices.

    Canada has the opportunity to do better; to improve the average Canadian’s access to necessary medicines while lowering the bill for businesses, taxpayers and citizens. We’ll explain how – the economics and the politics – later this week.

  • December 18, 2018 - Members of CUPE 966 donate $3,500 to Mississauga Food Bank

    Representatives of CUPE Local 966, representing 3,500 workers in Peel Region, will visit the Mississauga Food Bank on Tuesday, December 18th, to donate $3,500 to the food bank’s efforts to fight hunger this winter season.   

    “Every year, the Mississauga Food Bank provides food for over 2.6 million meals to hungry neighbours in our community,” said JP McMillan, Director of Development and Marketing. “But this would not be possible without supporters like CUPE. Thanks to their generous donation, we’ll be able to distribute 7,000 holiday meals to families, kids, and seniors who are struggling to make ends meet during out most critical time of the year.”

    “At this time of the year, many families in Peel Region are facing additional financial pressures. The members of CUPE Local 966, who work on the frontline in our communities, know this very well. And we want to help. On behalf of our membership, we are pleased to present a cheque to the Mississauga Food Bank tomorrow, and to tour their AquaGrow Farm and see firsthand the vital work they are doing,” said Salil Arya, President of Local 966.

    Who: Representatives of CUPE Local 966

    What: Presentation of $3,500 donation

    When: Tuesday, December 18th, 12 - 12:45 p.m.

    Where: Mississauga Food Bank, 3121 Universal Drive, Mississauga, ON

    Note: Peel Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros is expected to attend along with CUPE Local 966.

    CUPE Local 966 represents nearly 3,500 members working in public health, social services, public works, water and wastewater, public transportation, long-term care, and in shelters and supportive housing.  

  • November 23, 2018 - Memo from Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee
  • June 19, 2018 - Premier Designate Ford’s hiring freeze demonstrates a lack of understanding of the scope of government services
    Yesterday’s announcement of a unilateral hiring freeze across all government services demonstrates Premier Designate Doug Ford’s lack of understanding of the overall scope of services the Ontario government provides, says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.    


    “Ford has not even been sworn in as Premier and he has made this sweeping decision without having had the time to actually understand the overall needs of each of the Ministries and the services they provide across Ontario,” says Hahn. “This has the potential of causing significant and perhaps unintended problems on the frontlines in our communities.”

    “Rash decisions are not the way to improve the lives of working people and their families,” says Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “Once the new Premier officially takes office and becomes more familiar with the breadth of necessary jobs that will be effected, we hope he will adjust his decision.”

    Though full details of the hiring freeze are unclear, while representing the City of Toronto, Doug Ford supported policies that led to significant numbers of jobs going unfilled after retirements, parental leaves and resignations.

    “What we saw in Toronto directly impacted the level and quality of services people received,” says Hahn. “We are gravely concerned that today’s announcement will lead to the same or worse all across Ontario. We already have a crisis in long-term care and our children are not getting the level of support they need in the classroom. We need a Premier who is going to make sure people get the services they need, not one that will make everything worse.”

  • June 15, 2018 - Time for a true national holiday to honour Indigenous peoples
    On June 21, CUPE members across Canada will mark National Aboriginal Day, also known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, an annual opportunity to honour and celebrate the diverse cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

    Indigenous peoples will be celebrating in their communities, and graciously sharing their ceremonies, customs and heritage with others across the country. It is a day we can all stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples striving to protect and strengthen their cultures, languages, and way of life.

    CUPE is committed to working with Indigenous nations, communities and organizations towards reconciliation. As Canada’s largest union, we acknowledge and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples to their traditional, unceded territories, and to their rights to preserve and protect their cultures and languages. Our union is striving to educate CUPE members on the legacy of the residential school system, and the ongoing harm Canada’s assimilationist policies and laws have on Indigenous peoples.

    At our 2017 National Convention, CUPE members passed a resolution calling for the federal government to recognize and honor the Indigenous peoples living in Canada by making National Aboriginal Day a national statutory holiday. As part of our ongoing efforts to foster reconciliation in our workplaces and communities, we encourage all members to support this call, and to join in celebrations taking place across the county.

    What can you do?

    Let’s make June 21 a national statutory holiday. Sign the NDP petition.
    Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and consider how you can support the calls to action. Invite a speaker to your next meeting to talk about truth and reconciliation.
    Ask for CUPE’s Indigenous Awareness workshop and our human rights course.
    Make employment equity a bargaining priority. Ensure a workplace that welcomes Indigenous workers by bargaining collective agreement language that responds to their needs.
    Acknowledge Indigenous territory at all of your meetings and reach out and forge partnerships with local Indigenous communities and organizations.
    Sponsor and promote Indigenous events and advocacy.

  • June 13, 2018 - Preparing for a Doug Ford Conservative Government – a message for CUPE members and staff
    Attention all staff, CUPE leaders and activists:

    The election results on June 7, were not what we wanted and are very concerning for all CUPE members and the public services we provide. With only 40 percent of the vote, Doug Ford and the Conservative Party now have a majority government in Ontario.

    The race between the Conservatives and the NDP was close until the end. We had members and staff working hard on campaigns all across the province. Thanks to your hard work we elected many new strong NDP MPPs. Three of them – Joel Harden, Rima Berns-McGown and Sara Singh – were our own CUPE Ontario members. We also came so close in many other ridings.

    We now have an official opposition that represents the needs of working people and our families. An opposition we can work with to protect our members from an agenda of job and service cuts.

    We should all feel proud of our contributions in electing the most diverse caucus in the history of Queen’s Park. We can feel confident that they will be effective in fighting for our jobs and the services we provide.

    That said, we need to get prepared for the challenges ahead. Doug Ford has promised to cut more than $10 billion a year from provincial revenue – money used to fund the services we provide. If he keeps this promise, we will see substantial cuts to our services and jobs, and serious concession bargaining. We need to be ready to fight back.

    The thing we all need to remember is populist politicians like Doug Ford are vulnerable to public opinion. If we all come together at the first sign of attack – if we engage our community allies and the broader labour movement, we can stop the planned cuts and make sure the people in our communities get the services they need.

    Your newly elected CUPE Ontario executive board is meeting first thing next week to begin to plan for the fight that lies ahead. Sector leaders and sector staff support teams will be meeting in the coming weeks to do the same.

    The leaders of all of Ontario’s major unions are meeting this week to map out the most effective ways for us to work together. And, we will all be reaching out to our coalition partners across the province to ensure we continue to work together.

    Your role in all of this is crucial to our success. You are on the front lines. You will be the first to know if cuts have been planned in your workplace. You will be the first to hear about proposed job losses. You will be the first to get a sense that your employer is planning to put concessions on your bargaining table.

    If we are going to succeed in stopping the cuts Premier Ford has planned, you cannot do it on our own. You will need the full force of our union, our community allies, and the broader labour movement. We must all be prepared to mobilize. We must all be prepared to step up and support locals that are under attack. And you, must let your staff rep and CUPE Ontario know the minute you see signs that your local is being targeted.

    As we move forward under the new Ford government, it is more important than it has ever been for your local to join your regional CUPE council and your local labour council. Protecting the public services that working people in our communities need, will take all of us coming together.

    When Mike Harris came to power, CUPE members got active. Many of our union’s great leaders come out of the fight backs at that time. As we move forward today, we can feel confident that the challenges ahead will activate even more of our members to help us stop Ford’s agenda of cuts.

    We know how to fight back against austerity. We did it under the Liberals and we will do it with Doug Ford and his Conservatives. This time, we are better prepared than we have ever been and together we will win.

    In Solidarity,

    Fred Hahn Joe Matasic

    President Regional Director, Ontario

    CUPE Ontario CUPE

  • April 11, 2018 - More Care for Seniors, More Options for Families
    Ontario Investing More Than $3.3 Billion in Supports for Seniors and Caregivers
    April 11, 2018 8:45 A.M.Office of the Premier
    Ontario is moving forward with significant new funding to ensure seniors have better access to high-quality, professional care, whether they are living at home or in long-term care. 

    Premier Wynne spoke at the Together We Care convention in Etobicoke today, sharing with long-term care and retirement home professionals how the 2018 Budget makes the deliberate choice to invest in the care that seniors need right now, and will make a meaningful difference in the lives of seniors and their caregivers.

    Ontario's 2018 Budget makes more than $3.3 billion in additional investments to support seniors and caregivers over the next three years. For long-term care homes, this will mean $300 million over three years to increase care hours and support the hiring of more nurses and personal support workers. Ontario is committed to reaching a provincial average of four hours of direct care per day for every resident in long-term care, and this will help us get there.

    Ontario's 2018 Budget will also provide more care for seniors by:

    Investing $650 million in new funding over three years to bolster home and community care services by increasing personal support, nursing and therapy visits and caregiver respite hours.
    Keeping residents and support workers safe with a plan that includes an $8 million equipment fund to prevent falls and injuries, and new funding so every long-term care home can better care for residents with dementia.
    Creating the Seniors' Healthy Home Program, a $1 billion investment over three years. This program will provide up to $750 per year for eligible households led by seniors 75 and over to help them offset the costs of living independently.
    Expanding OHIP+ next year to make prescription drugs free for people 65 and over, an annual investment of $575 million by 2020-21.
    Introducing a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program in 2019 for individuals and their families who do not have coverage from an extended health plan, representing a total investment of more than $800 million over the first two years of the program.
    Adding 30,000 long-term care beds over the next ten years -- on top of the 30,000 Ontario is already redeveloping.
    Improving access to high-quality care for seniors is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and easier access to affordable child care.

    Quick Facts
    Ontario’s health care budget will total $61.3 billion in 2018-19 — a five per cent increase from the previous year.
    Ontario is improving hospitals by providing better access to care, reducing wait times, addressing capacity issues and better meeting the needs of Ontario's growing and aging population through an additional $822 million investment in 2018–19 — the largest increase to the hospital sector in almost a decade. The province will provide approximately $19 billion in capital grants over 10 years to continue building infrastructure that will support the health needs of local communities and residents.
    Since 2013, the government has expanded its investment in home and community care by about $250 million per year, in addition to ongoing funding of more than $5 billion.
    The number of seniors in Ontario is expected to grow from 2.4 million today to 4.5 million by 2040.

  • April 11, 2018 - NDP's commitment to guaranteed care for seniors is the kind of leadership Ontario needs
    TORONTO, April 11, 2018 /CNW/ - Today's reintroduction of the Time to Care Act shows that the Ontario NDP are the only party committed to guaranteeing seniors will have legislated minimum care standards they can count on when they need to move into long-term care. And that's the kind of leadership we need in Ontario, says Candace Rennick, Secretary Treasurer of CUPE Ontario.

    This afternoon, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath reintroduced the Bill after the Liberal government killed Bill 33 by proroguing the legislature last month. If passed the Bill will legislate a daily four-hour minimum care standard for all of the provinces long-term care homes. This is the third time the NDP has introduced the Bill.

    "There are currently no minimum care standards for long-term care in Ontario and our seniors are suffering. They need this legislation to be passed now," says Rennick, who worked with NDP health critic France Gelinas to draft the Bill. "Despite trying to work with all three parties to implement guaranteed minimum care standards, the Liberal government has refused to act. I think its's shameful."

    There are more than 78,000 people living in Ontario long-term care homes. The majority of residents are over 85, almost three quarters have some form of Alzheimer's or dementia, and the vast majority have mobility issues. Canada has the lowest long-term care levels among countries with equivalent economies, and Ontario has the lowest in Canada.

    "It's not acceptable that our loved ones, the people who spent their lives building our province and caring for our communities, are now being neglected in their final years," says Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. "We have thousands of members working in long-term care who are devastated by the fact that they are not able to provide the level of care their residents need. They have been working for years to try and get the government to bring in the minimum care standards we need. We're grateful that Andrea Horwath and the NDP are determined to make it a reality."

    "For our members working in the homes, it's almost like residents are on a conveyer belt. They're given a check list of tasks that need to be done and they literally have to run from resident to resident checking off the list," says Rennick. "They're not able to spend time with the residents on a human level. This is no way for our seniors to spend their final years."

    CUPE Ontario will continue to pressure all MPPs to fast track the new Bill so that it can become law before the spring election.

    SOURCE Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

    For further information: Sarah Jordison, CUPE Communications, 416-578-5638

  • March 28, 2018 - Premier killed vital long-term care legislation for an empty Throne Speech

    Seniors living in long-term care lost out on legislation that would have finally brought in vital minimum care standards because the Premier decided it was more important to have a Throne Speech that did little other than rehash old promises, said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn at Queen’s Park. 

    “Today’s speech was little more than a list of their top ten hits and it failed to improve voter confidence in her government,” said Hahn. “This cynical attempt to change the channel on her government’s unpopularity is a perfect example of why voters no longer trust the Ontario Liberals to act in our best interest.”

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  • January 24, 2018 - An update on Unifor's decision to leave the CLC

    TO: All CUPE Chartered Bodies 

    Sisters, Brothers, and Friends:

    It has been a week since Unifor’s National Executive Board made a decision to pull their union out of the Canadian Labour Congress.

    I remain disappointed by the decision. I believe it has the potential to fundamentally damage our labour movement.

    I am also disappointed that Unifor is sowing division among labour activists across the country by insisting they have a right to participate in federations of labour and in labour councils. The CLC Constitution is clear in this regard – Federations and Councils are chartered bodies of the CLC, and their membership is made up of locals of CLC affiliates.

    In choosing to disaffiliate from the CLC, Unifor members have lost their rights to participate in the CLC, its federations of labour, and its labour councils. And that is very unfortunate for our movement, and for Unifor’s amazing and dedicated labour activists. But these are the consequences of their decision.

    I know that in some cases, leaders of federations of labour and labour councils who come from Unifor have done the right thing, and resigned. And in some cases, they are fighting to stay in their leadership positions.

    But there are bigger things at stake than elected positions and attendance at meetings.

    Unifor’s decision to leave our house of labour will pit union against union in a fight for members who are already organized. Unifor is already actively raiding hotel workers in Toronto from another union, Unite HERE. And we know that they have their sights on other unions, too.

    Let me be very clear. While Unifor is raiding our sisters and brothers in other unions, there is no place for them in our house of labour – including our provincial federations of labour and our labour councils.

    Our labour movement is stronger when we are united, when we work together to protect and defend the rights of our members and the rights of all workers in Canada. And our participation in the labour movement is more important than ever.

    If your local is not already affiliated to your federation of labour, or your labour council, please take the necessary steps to join them. And if you are already affiliated, please make sure your members participate.

    We don’t yet know all the ramifications of Unifor’s decision. The CLC Executive Committee meets next week, and the Canadian Council will meet after that. How this plays out in the labour movement will become more clear in the coming days and weeks.

    I will provide you with another update in early February. In the meantime, please know that I am committed to working with other labour leaders to bring our movement back under one roof.

    In solidarity,

    Mark Hancock
    National President

  • November 07, 2017 - Aging with Confidence: Ontario's Action Plan for Seniors
    Ontario is taking action to make sure that all seniors are able to access the support they need at every stage of their life.    

    Aging with Confidence: Ontario's Action Plan for Seniors empowers people to make the choices that are right for them when it comes to their care, their independence, and how they access government services - whether that's finding ways to keep up an active lifestyle or getting the support needed to live at home longer.


    Supporting Seniors at All Stages

    All seniors, regardless of their needs, want a high quality of life ? one that maximizes their health, safety, and connections with family, friends and community. The following actions are designed to help all seniors, no matter where they live in the province, to age well and confidently.

    Easy-to-find information: A "one-stop" website ( has been developed where seniors can find information about tax credits, drug coverage, powers of attorney, recreation programs and more. People can also get this information by phone at 1-888-910-1999 or by calling 211 ? which offers information 24 hours a day in over 150 languages.

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  • November 03, 2017 - Proposed welfare reform plan includes 22% boost to payments
    Province mulls series of changes that would also include new housing benefit as part of 10-year roadmap to overhaul antiquated system.

    Ontario is considering an “urgent” 22-per-cent increase to welfare over three years and a new housing benefit to begin as early as 2019 as part of a 10-year roadmap to overhaul the province’s antiquated and rule-bound income security system, the Star has learned.

    The proposals are included in a 180-page report by a provincially-appointed panel of community activists and experts being released Thursday by Community and Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek.

    Although the panel says it is impossible to provide a 10-year price tag for the reforms, early measures are expected to cost $3.2 billion annually by 2021, according to the report obtained by the Star.

    Jaczek, who set up the panel in July 2016, said she wanted the group to tackle the province’s “confusing, complicated and intrusive” welfare rules and to consider a broader approach to income security that includes housing, child benefits, health benefits, training and employment supports.

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  • November 1, 2017 - Long-term care bill going to second reading is counting on all party support
    TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 1, 2017) - Bill 33, the Time to Care Act, is going to second reading Thursday and seniors, their families and care providers are counting on all party support to ensure seniors living in long-term care get the level of care they need.

    "This bill was written with one thing in mind, protecting the health and dignity of our seniors living in Ontario's long-term care homes," NDP Health Critic France Gélinas said, at a Queen's Park press conference on the eve of second reading. "Families in this province are concerned about the treatment their loved ones are receiving in long-term care. If we want to protect our most vulnerable citizens, a minimum standard of daily care is a must."

    "Right now, the only guarantees long-term care residents have in Ontario, are that there will be one nurse on site in the home 24 hours-a-day, and that they will get two baths a week. This is not acceptable," says Candace Rennick, Secretary Treasurer of CUPE Ontario and a former long-term care worker who has been working with Gélinas to bring Bill 33 forward. "Ontario seniors deserve better protection."

    There are more than 78,000 people living in Ontario long-term care homes. The majority of residents are over 85, almost three quarters have some form of Alzheimer's or dementia, and the vast majority have mobility issues.

    Canada has the lowest care levels among countries with equivalent economies, and Ontario has the lowest in Canada. Bill 33 would legislate a minimum care standard of four hours a day.

    "We have five to ten minutes to help a resident with their morning routine. That includes waking, washing, dressing and use of the commode. Imagine if you only had ten minutes for all those activities in the morning. Then imagine you are 87 years old with mobility issues - it's just not right," said Andrea Legault, a personal support worker for 19 years. "The hardest thing for me is the residents that we literally force into incontinence because we don't have enough staff to get to them when they call for help to the bathroom."

    MPPs across the province have received more than 5000 letters of support from family members, for the Time to Care Act. In a recent obituary one family even asked mourners to send letters of support for the bill in lieu of flowers or charitable donations.

    "I've seen first-hand the results of cuts in our long-term care homes. Incidents of resident on resident violence are increasing as residents with dementia and other cognitive illness are more and more isolated," said Tom Carrothers, chair of the Advocacy Committee of Family Councils. "The pattern of chronic understaffing in our long-term care homes only exacerbates these problems."

    "It's not acceptable that our loved ones, the people who spent their lives building our province and caring for our communities, are now being neglected in their final years. We are very grateful to France for bringing this bill forward, but this shouldn't be a partisan issue," said Rennick. "We are calling on all parties to step up tomorrow, and vote yes for the Time to Care Act. Seniors across Ontario are counting on them."

    CUPE is Ontario's community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

    Sarah Jordison
    CUPE Communications

  • September 11, 2017 - Paul Jordison Fund 2017
  • June 12, 2017 - Ontario Liberals Announce Changes To Labour Law—And A $15 Minimum Wage
    Tuesday, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced which recommendations of the Final Report of the Changing Workplace Review she would like to see implemented, including a $15 minimum wage (see our summary of the Final Report here). While rumors of a $15 minimum wage have been swirling around since the past month (we first reported on it here), the announcement comes as part of the Ontario Liberal’s bigger campaign to protect vulnerable workers. The announcement also confirmed the rumours that annual vacation pay will be rising from two weeks to three weeks for employees that have worked at their jobs for at least five years (this was also recommended in the Final Report).
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  • April 03, 2017 - OMERS Guaranteed, 100% Indexing Matters to Members



















Public Health Archive