New long term care home opening in Ajax this spring

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Published February 1, 2022 at 2:17 pm

Ford Oshawa

Ontario Premier Doug Ford came to Ajax this morning to announce a new long term care (LTC) facility opening in Ajax this spring.

The new facility is expected to open by the end of March following 13 months of construction by PCL Construction under Ontario’s Accelerated Build Pilot Program as its first finished project.

The home will feature 320 new long term care beds, part of the Ontario government’s goal to build 30,000 new beds and 28,000 upgraded beds by 2028 through a $6.4 billion investment.

Lakeridge Health board chair Sharon Cochrane described the press conference as a “celebration” of the new home in her opening remarks.

LTC minister Paul Calandra, who also serves as Minister of Government Affairs; Minister of Health Christine Elliott; Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma’ and Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy (who is also the Pickering-Uxbridge MPP); Whitby MPP Lorne Coe; and Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier also came out to support the new project.

Ajax MPP Rod Phillips, who recently resigned as long term care minister in his second resignation from cabinet, but still represents the town at Queen’s Park, was not present at the event.

“It’s hard to believe when I was here just over a year ago this was just an empty plot of land,” Ford said in his address. “Seeing a new long term care home in such a short time is truly amazing.”

Such projects can often take up to eight years  to complete.

The Ajax long term care home, which sits on the grounds of the Ajax-Pickering hospital, is the first LTC under the accelerated build program. Builds in Mississauga, North York and Toronto are on the way as well. The four new homes will create 1,272 net new beds.

This isn’t the only new LTC coming to Ajax in the near future with a new Schlegel Villages site with 192 beds and a Chartwell Ballycliffe residence coming to town.

The new homes and numerous expansion projects are part of the Ford Government’s Modernizing Long Term Care plan, initiated under Philips, after  COVID-19 outbreaks in LTC homes resulted in the military coming in to support five homes. The military later issued a scathing report on LTC conditions at the time.

One of these homes, Pickering’s Orchard Villa, has applied for a license renewal and funding for a new building through the plan which has attracted controversy.

Ontario LTC, like the rest of the province, saw a sharp uptick in COVID cases recently as the highly communicable Omicron variant spread. Monday saw 56 per cent of the province’s LTC homes reporting outbreaks with 129 LTC residents dying in the last week.

Ontario projects that Omicron’s peak has passed as case rates begin to fall and will continue plans to reopen in stages on February 21, and March 14 with the Premier saying, “We’re ready, but we have to do it cautiously.”

Ford said that while hospitals are still seeing “a little a bit of pressure,” future lockdown are, “not our goal.”

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