July 28, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Long-Term Care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, announced the accelerated construction of a new long-term care home at Lakeridge Health’s Ajax Pickering Hospital site.
Premier Ford and Dr. Fullerton were joined by Mayor of Ajax, Shaun Collier; Chair of the Lakeridge Health Board of Trustees, Sharon Cochran; Minister of Finance and MPP for Ajax, Rod Phillips; President of the Treasury Board and MPP for Pickering—Uxbridge, Peter Bethlenfalvy; MPP for Whitby, Lorne Coe; and MPP for Durham, Lindsey Park.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford responded to questions from media and provided an update on the province’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accelerated Long-Term Care Home Construction in Ajax
This afternoon, Premier Ford and Dr. Fullerton announced the accelerated construction of a new 320-bed long-term care home at the Lakeridge Health Ajax Pickering Hospital site. The project, which has a projected opening date of 2021, is part of the province’s Accelerated Build Pilot Program, announced last week in Mississauga.
The Accelerated Build Pilot Program is part of the government’s plan to create new long-term care beds across Ontario with modern features, including air conditioning and private or semi-private rooms.
While construction of a new long-term care home typically takes 36 months, the project announced today is targeted for completion in 2021 through the use of hospital lands and a range of accelerating measures such as modular construction and rapid procurement.
Questions from Media – Ongoing COVID-19 Response
Premier Ford said that an announcement on the independent commission into long-term care would be coming in the next few days.
Minister Fullerton also spoke about the lessons learned in Ontario’s long-term care facilities during the pandemic and said these lessons would be top-of-mind for the government going forward. Specifically, the government will take into account issues surrounding staffing shortages, congestion of facilities, integration of long-term care with acute care, and learnings about how COVID-19 spreads.
When asked whether he would consider rolling back regions of the province experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19, specifically Ottawa, to an earlier stage of reopening, Premier Ford said that he did not have plans to move Ottawa back into stage two. Of the 111 new cases reported today, 25 were confirmed in the Ottawa area.
There will be an announcement tomorrow about whether Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex will be permitted to move to stage three.