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Workers warn of dangers if six Public Health Ontario labs close

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Public Health Ontario workers say the potential closure of six laboratories across the province would be dangerous and increase inequity in northern Ontario.

The workers are also worried about the proposal to get rid of the free water testing program for private wells across Ontario.

Last fall, the auditor general once again recommended the agency close six of its public health laboratories and the elimination of the water testing program in an effort to cut costs.

Public Health Ontario first proposed the consolidation of its 11 laboratories in 2017, but the government has not acted.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones says the province hasn't made a decision on the future of the well-water testing program, but refused to say whether or not it will close any labs.

Several municipalities and local public health units have raised concerns about the possible closures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2024.

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