Province Investing $116.5 Million More to Increase Hospital Capacity, Reduce Wait Times, and Respond to COVID-19
The Ontario government is providing $116.5 million to create up to 766 more beds at 32 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province. This investment will help reduce surgical backlogs and improve access to care during COVID-19. The funding is in addition to the $2.8 billion the province is providing in the government’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan.
The new beds announced on October 27th are in addition to the $234.5 million investment for 139 critical care beds and up to 1,349 hospital beds included in Ontario’s fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. This brings the total investment to $351 million for more than 2,250 new beds at 57 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province. These beds will add more capacity for hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots such as Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York region. It will also help those facing occupancy pressures and support the continuation of surgeries and procedures.
William Osler Health System will be receiving up to 87 total patient beds to help alleviate hospital capacity pressures and reduce wait times. This includes 41 beds at Osler’s Brampton Civic Hospital and 46 beds at Osler’s Etobicoke General Hospital.
Ontario’s fall preparedness plan also focuses on addressing surges in COVID-19 cases and reducing health service backlogs by:
- Extending hours for additional priority surgeries and diagnostic imaging;
- Helping up to 850 alternate level of care patients access proper care in a home or community setting to help free up hospital capacity;
- Expanding digital health and virtual services, which provide alternatives to in-person care that limit the transmission of COVID-19, while maintaining access to care;
- Improving access to mental health and addictions services and supports; and
- Increasing home and community care service by adding 484,000 nursing and therapy visits and 1.4 million personal support worker hours.
The province continues to work with its health sector partners and Ontario Health to develop an integrated health system capacity plan in response to COVID-19. This plan will help ensure hospitals can continue to provide care for COVID-19 patients and treat patients who have been waiting for surgeries and tests. The province will continue to monitor and assess the health system’s needs and address any challenges hospitals may face.
With a recent increase in cases of COVID-19, it remains vital for the government to continue to protect vulnerable populations and for each Ontarian to follow public health advice.
Building on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the province’s $30 billion response to the pandemic, the government remains committed to providing necessary resources to protect people’s health and support people, families, workers and business owners. Ontario will release its 2020 Budget and the next phase of Ontario’s Action Plan on November 5, 2020.
The Ontario government is providing up to $1.05 billion in combined federal-provincial funding through the new COVID-19 Resilience infrastructure stream to build or renovate health and safety related projects in long-term care, education and municipalities. The funding is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and reinforces the commitment of both the federal and provincial governments to protect the health and well-being of individuals and families during the pandemic.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
Eligible projects under the COVID-19 Resilience stream will fall under four main categories:
- Community, recreation, health and education renovations (e.g. retrofits, repairs or upgrades to long-term care homes, publicly funded schools and co-located childcare centre facilities, recreation centres or shelters);
- COVID-19 response infrastructure (e.g. heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, new builds or renovations to enable physical distancing);
- Active transportation (e.g. parks, trails); and
- Disaster mitigation, adaptation, or remediation (e.g. flood mitigation).
The COVID-19 Resilience stream will deliver:
- Up to $700 million for education-related projects to be nominated and administered by the Ministry of Education;
- An allocation-based program that will deliver $250 million to municipalities to address critical local infrastructure needs, including $6.5 million that will be directed toward Indigenous and on-reserve education, through the Ministry of Infrastructure in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Indigenous Affairs; and
- Up to $100 million for long-term care projects to be identified and administered by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
Eligible projects must begin by September 30, 2021 and be completed by December 31, 2021. Additional details about the COVID-19 Resilience stream and intake opening dates will be available in the days and weeks ahead.