Municipalities may be paying less to fund public health units in the near future.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones is bringing back the municipal share from 30 per cent to 25 per cent.

Several municipal leaders voiced concern with the higher percentage, saying it was too taxing on their budgets.

Addressing delegates attending the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in London, Ontario, Jones stated health unit's base budgets would increase by one per cent for the next three years.

"So that they can be more effectively able to plan and prepare. This will give us time to work together with municipalities and public health partners on a longer-term approach. And I can guarantee you that any approach will not result in more financial burden on municipalities," says Jones.

The province would still like to reduce the number of public health units.

It is now going to let that happen voluntarily with some incentives.

"We will be providing one-time funding and support to public health units that voluntarily decide to merge to increase their ability to provide care to more people," says Jones.

A previous government plan considered the possible merger of the Northwestern Health Unit with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Jones added that her ministry would work with the sector to clarify public health roles and responsibilities to reduce overlap and ensure public health care is aligned with provincial priorities.