Bed Bug Fight Running Short of Cash
The battle against bed bugs is not the only thing on the losing end, the Toronto Sun is reporting that the Bed bug fight is running short of cash. The Toronto Public Health board asked the province to keep the cash flowing to fight the bed bug problem. About 1.2 million in one-time funding from the Ontario Health Ministry to fight bed bug infestation is set to run out on March 31. The city’s chief medical officers of health, Dr. David McKeown, told health board members that the funding is helping to treat this problem. “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 organized 175 extreme cleanings, referred 59 vulnerable citizens to public health nurses and answered to 1,248 bed bug facility requests from the public.
McKeown warned that the funding could end before the work is completed and that the health unit is not seeing a decrease in identifying severe infestations. Board member Councillor Paula Fletcher asked staff to find a way for the city to clean up bed bugs in buildings where landlords have refused to address the issue. That cost would be added to the landlord’s tax bill. Fletcher also asked the staff to develop a scale to measure the severity of the infestations and determine a point when the problem would be made public. She said, “‘I think that is quite a helpful thing for people to know…and then I think things will get cleaned up a lot faster.’”