Ontario to fast-track construction of fourth Toronto area long-term care home
Toronto Mayor John Tory looks on at Ontario Premier Doug Ford as the two levels of government speak to media to announce additional funding for Toronto Police CCTV programs, at the Toronto Police College in Toronto, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
TORONTO -- Ontario will be fast-tracking the construction of yet another long-term care home in Toronto.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford said that the new home will be built at Humber River Hospital’s Finch site “in months, not years.” The new facility is expected to add 320 beds by the end of next year.
“We believe every senior in long-term care homes deserve a safe, comfortable place to call home,” Ford said. “My friends, this is the power of partnership. We’re getting our seniors off the waitlist.”
The government said that it usually takes about 36 months to build a long-term care facility. They hope that “accelerating measures” like modular construction, rapid procurement and the use of hospital land will help get the projects done in 2021.
This is the fourth such project that the Progressive Conservatives have announced this year. The first two were in Mississauga and are expected to add about 640 beds. The third was in Ajax and is expected to add another 320 beds.
“We know that the shortage of long-term care beds in Ontario puts strain on our broader health-care system, and on the thousands of seniors waiting currently in hospital for admission,” Minister of Long-Term Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton said.
Fullerton went on to say that Toronto has one of the highest wait times for long-term care space in the province. The median wait time for a long-term care bed in Ontario is 139 days, but in Toronto, across all five local health integration networks, Fullerton says the wait time is 194 days.
“Our government is committed to improving this number,” she said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory joined Ford and Fullerton for the announcement and thanked them for their support throughout the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has taught us many lessons. A major takeaway for our city, and I’m sure for our province and for other communities, is the need for more long-term care beds. Some of our city’s most vulnerable, frail seniors were heavily impacted upon at the start of the pandemic,” Tory said, noting that far too many seniors died as a result of the pandemic.
“Today’s announcement, which is nothing but good news for Toronto and for the province and for seniors, is another significant step forward.”