QUEEN’S PARK – Today during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature, Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan, questioned the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Deb Matthews, regarding Long-Term Care in the Northwest.
In her response, the Minister provided information about the new Seniors Long-Term Care facility that is coming to Thunder Bay:
- The new Home will mean the following for Thunder Bay:
- The Province will fill the void left by closure of Grandview Lodge and Dawson Court
- The approximately 500 bed new Long-Term Care facility is 100% provincially-funded
- That entails an approximately $100 million Provincial investment
- The partnership with St. Joseph’s Care Group is protecting C.A.W. jobs
- This project will provide significant employment for the building trades
- The 132 supportive additional housing units will create an additional 110 brand new jobs
- The Province has committed to funding the City of Thunder Bay’s net operating loss for Grandview Lodge & Dawson Court until the new long-term care facility is completed. That Provincial support represents approximately $12 million in municipal tax savings over 3 years
Mauro is delighted to see this project move forward. He said: “seniors will soon have greater access to health care services with the construction of a new Centre of Excellence for Integrated Seniors’ Services in Thunder Bay. This vital, modernized Home demonstrates our government’s commitment to long-term care in Northwestern Ontario”.
Minister Matthews said: “This is a Centre of Excellence that will make a profound difference for the people of Thunder Bay, and will have implications right across this province as we learn from the work that is happening in Northwestern Ontario.”
Mauro also sought to set the record straight regarding claims made by MPP Howard Hampton during the previous Question Period. A transcript of Bill Mauro’s questions and the Minister’s responses can be found below:
Mr. Bill Mauro: My question is to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Yesterday, the member from Kenora–Rainy River brought up an issue in his riding. A senior in Fort Frances received a letter regarding new long-term-care beds in Terrace Bay. He stated, “Two weeks ago, she received a letter from the North West Community Care Access Centre, telling her that a long-term-care bed is open to her in Terrace Bay. Is this the McGuinty Liberals’ idea of quality long-term care for Ontario seniors? Send them 550 kilometres—seven hours—away from their family and friends? Could the minister please tell this House what this letter was all about and if people in this province are being forced to move farther away from their homes?”
Hon. Deborah Matthews: I would like to commend the member from Thunder Bay–Atikokan for being such a champion for his constituents. I want to make it very clear: This government does not force seniors to move far away from their loved ones to go into long-term care. We do our very best to keep them as close to home as possible. That is why we’ve opened 8,300 new long-term-care beds, including 22 beds in Terrace Bay, thanks to the member from Thunder Bay–Superior North. The CCAC was simply informing all people on their waiting list that there was a new option available. It is completely wrong to suggest that there was any forcing going on. This is what the letter says: “We have reviewed our long-term-care home waiting lists and are notifying all clients of the opening of this new long-term-care home. Please let us know whether or not you are interested in applying …Further, it says, “If you choose to apply.”
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?
Mr. Bill Mauro: I’m relieved, as I’m sure others are, to hear that this was simply a huge misinterpretation by the member. I understand how important quality care is for resident and their families. In my riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan, I know that residents were very concerned in 2005 when the city of Thunder Bay announced they would no longer be operating two municipal long-term-care homes. Recognizing this challenge, the LHIN and the Ministry of Health worked with St. Joseph’s health care to develop the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Seniors’ Services. In response, our government is investing in new long-term-care home beds this centre, and I know that seniors will soon have greater access to health care services with the construction of this new facility. Could the minister please tell this House more about the centre and how it will benefit seniors in my riding?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: I’m very happy to report on the progress of the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Seniors’ Services in Thunder Bay. I’m very happy to report on the progress of the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Seniors’ Services in Thunder Bay. This facility will have 336 long-term-care beds, 109 of which are new beds and the rest are redeveloped; 132 supportive housing units, offering more choices to seniors. It will promote their independence so they can continue to live with dignity and with respect. The centre will respond to local populations’ increasing demand for seniors’ services, so they will also be able to provide community support services for an additional 150 clients and enhanced services for existing supportive housing units. This is a centre of excellence that will make a profound difference for the people of Thunder Bay and will have implications right across this province as we learn from the work that is happening in Northwestern Ontario.