WDGPH board approves $23.8-million budget for next year

Unforeseen COVID-19 expenses totalled $13 million this year - which was covered by the province

GUELPH – The Ministry of Health is covering the extra $13 million in COVID-19 expenses incurred in 2021 for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH), allowing the agency to present a balanced budget for 2022-23.

CAO David Kingma presented the draft budget to the board of health on Nov. 3.

It totals $23,875,073 and represents a two per cent increase over 2021, attributed to a cost-of-living increase for staff.

Employee salaries and benefits for 2022 come in at $18,316,125.

The Ministry of Health will fund $14,204,733 of the total budget, the City of Guelph $4,204,733, Wellington County $2,902,462 and Dufferin County $1,964,191.

Kingma said many of WDGPH’s usual program costs have been decreased because of the pandemic. Most programs stopped in 2020 as public health focused on pandemic duties such as contact tracing, testing, consistent messaging, and later its mass vaccination program.

There was also a reduction in some building costs as staff worked from home.

Kingma said the pandemic will have a budgetary impact on public health in 2022 as well, as two initiatives – the vaccine for children under 11 and a vaccine booster shot program – will continue into the new year.

“We anticipate programs won’t be fully functional next year,” he said, adding public health will ease back into full programming when the pandemic is over.

The WDGPH board unanimously approved the budget.