Ontario Construction News staff writer
A new long-term care home will be built at Humber River Hospital’s Finch site in months, the Ontario government announced last week. The project is part of Ontario’s Accelerated Build Pilot Program. By working with Humber River Hospital and Infrastructure Ontario, the province intends to build up to 320 new long-term care beds at this site by the end of next year.
“We are proud to be partnering with Premier Doug Ford and the Honourable Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, to accelerate the construction of this new facility and oversee its construction in collaboration with community-based service providers,” said Barbara Collins, president and CEO at Humber River Hospital.
“This is an investment in our most vulnerable seniors, and a major step forward for the Humber River community and the entire province of Ontario.”
The pilot program is part of the government’s plan to create new long-term care beds across the province that include features such as air conditioning and private or semi-private rooms, beginning immediately.
“After years of underinvestment in long-term care, we are getting shovels in the ground faster and delivering on our commitment to build 30,000 long-term care beds over the next decade,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“We’re working with innovative partners like Humber River Hospital and Infrastructure Ontario to help get our seniors off waitlists and into modern rooms, so they receive the quality care they deserve sooner.”
By utilizing hospital lands and a range of accelerating measures such as modular construction and rapid procurement, the government and its partners are targeting completion of the project by the end of 2021, years faster than the traditional timeline for long-term care development. Humber River Hospital will work with Infrastructure Ontario to manage the day-to-day construction and commissioning oversight.
“Infrastructure Ontario is proud to partner with another hospital to fast-track a new long-term care facility through the Accelerated Build Pilot Program,” said Michael Lindsay, president, project delivery at Infrastructure Ontario. “This project at Humber River Hospital, along with recently-announced facilities in Mississauga and Ajax, will create much-needed capacity in the long-term care sector.” Over the next five years, the government is investing $1.75 billion in long-term care homes.
Nearly 78,000 Ontario residents currently live in 626 long-term care homes across the province. More than 38,000 people are on the waitlist to access a long-term care bed (as of March 2020).
Between 2011 and 2018, there were 611 long-term care beds built across the province, less than one bed per home.
“Now, with our experience of COVID-19, it is more important than ever that we realize our government’s vision to build a 21st century integrated long-term care system that provides our most vulnerable with safe, high-quality, resident-centred care and a dignified place to call home,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
“Our government is working hand in hand with leaders in the long-term care sector to modernize long-term care as quickly as possible.”