July 21, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Long-Term Care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, announced a new Accelerated Build Pilot Program that will enable the construction of two new long-term care homes in Mississauga by 2021.
Premier Ford and Dr. Fullerton were joined by Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga, Michelle DiEmanuele, President and CEO of Trillium Health Partners, and Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga—Lakeshore.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford responded to questions from media regarding Ontario’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and today’s spike in case numbers.
Accelerated Build Pilot Program for Long-Term Care Homes
This afternoon, Premier Ford and Dr. Fullerton announced the Accelerated Build Pilot Program in Mississauga, in order to build two new long-term care homes with a combined capacity of 640 beds.
While it currently takes approximately 36 months to build long-term care homes, the pilot announced today targets completion of the new facilities in 2021 through accelerating measures such as modular construction, rapid procurement, and the use of hospital lands.
This program is part of the government’s plan to create new long-term care beds across the province that meet modern design standards.
Premier Ford said that he would not currently consider reversing the temporary suspension of construction-related municipal noise by-laws on essential construction activities. He added that the rapid construction of the long-term care facilities in Mississauga, announced today, will be made possible as a result of extended construction hours.
Questions from Media – Ongoing Response to COVID-19
In response to questions about the spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases today, particularly in the Ottawa area, Premier Ford said that the percentage of new cases among people under the age of 39 is concerning. He reminded Ontarians in this demographic to remain vigilant, follow public health protocols and avoid large social gatherings. Mayor Bonnie Crombie added that Mississauga is working to spread this message on channels used by young people.
When asked about elective surgeries in Ontario hospitals, Premier Ford said the province’s goal is to resolve the current backlog as quickly as possible. Michelle DiEmanuele added that the province’s hospitals are using a two-part strategy involving both restoring service to pre-COVID operating levels while also identifying ways to increase capacity over the coming months in order to manage the backlog. She identified working on weekends, adding time to surgical blocks, and sharing capacity amongst the hospital system as possible solutions.