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Ten former Ontario health ministers representing three political parties are urging the provincial government to reverse its cuts to public-health funding.

Six former Liberal ministers, three New Democrats and one Progressive Conservative have signed an open letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott, imploring her to stop what they call “drastic” cuts.

They cite the 2003 SARS epidemic, which killed 44 people in Toronto, as evidence of the “devastating impact of failing to invest in public health.”

The province has notified municipal public health units that it will reduce its cost-sharing levels in a move to save $200-million a year by 2021-22.

Officials in Toronto say the move will cost the city’s public health agency more than $1-billion over 10 years and affect services such as vaccinations and child nutrition programs.

Former Liberal health minister Helena Jaczek is set to speak to the media about the open letter this morning at the legislature.

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