Afro-Caribbean-focused long term care home to be built in either Pickering or Ajax

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Published April 28, 2022 at 4:45 pm

An artist rendering of Ontario's first Afro-Caribbean Long-Term Care home. (CNW Group/D&S Group)

Ontario will help fund a non-profit long-term care home in Durham Region that will have designated spaces for the Afro-Caribbean cultural community – the first of its kind in Ontario.

D&S Group & Atlantic Mas Foundation were joined by Ontario Finance Minister and Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy, former Legislature Speaker Dr. Alvin Curling and other guests in Pickering last Friday to announce the approval the home, which does not yet a final site location picked out.

“I am truly proud to be a part of this important initiative for the Afro-Caribbean community,” said Sacha Singh, President and CEO of D&S group. “We have surrounded ourselves with champions of the community to ensure we create the absolute best facility for our seniors. Our objective is to provide a beautiful living environment that anyone would be proud to call home.”

Atlantic Mas Foundation is the license holder for the project and is a well-established Caribbean cultural organization in the GTA.

“The Atlantic Mas family has supported the community for many years in various areas,” said family spokesperson Aisha Heywood. “We are excited that we now have a new and meaningful road to travel, which will benefit the elders we respect and care for so much.”

While other culturally appropriate LTC homes exist across Ontario, there has not been one for the Afro-Caribbean community. The 128-bed home will be located in Durham Region – likely in Pickering or Ajax – which has one of the highest percentage of residents of Afro-Caribbean heritage in Canada.

“Our government has a plan to fix long-term care and a key part of that plan is building modern, safe, and comfortable homes for our seniors,” said Paul Calandra, the newly minted Minister of Long-Term Care.

Friday’s announcement is part of the Government of Ontario’s 6.4-billion-dollar commitment to creating more than 30,000 net new beds by 2028 and upgrading 28,000 long-term care beds across Ontario.

“I’m proud to support this project, as it will provide much needed long-term care beds to Durham residents, while supporting our region’s vibrant Afro-Caribbean population as they age,” said Bethlenfalvy. “(This) announcement speaks to our government’s commitment to ensure that seniors receive the best culturally appropriate care in their own communities.”

 

Dr. Alvin Curling

Also supporting the project as a community champion and Special Advisor is Curling, a distinguished community leader who served as Ontario’s first Black Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and first Black cabinet minister, in addition to numerous other diplomatic and philanthropic roles.

“This significant announcement is welcomed by the Afro-Caribbean Black Community,” said Curling. “The contribution of the community to the health care sector is well documented. This project will certainly help to address the desperate long-term care need in our community.”

This project is being celebrated by many high-profile members of the community.

“A sense of community is imperative throughout our lives, but especially so in our latter years. It is wonderful to see something like this coming to fruition for our Afro-Caribbean Community,” said Jamaal Magloire, retired Canadian basketball star, President of the Jamaal Magloire Foundation and current Raptors assistant coach and community ambassador. “I am proud to be part of that demographic and even prouder to see a place dedicated to ensuring the older generation feels at home.”

The licensee will be working with the Ministry of Long-term Care to build in a suitable final location, in order to meet ministry development guidelines.

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