Still no funds for Whitby hospital in Ontario budget for third time since site selection


Published March 26, 2024 at 5:17 pm

Ontario revealed its fiscal 2024 budget in Queen’s Park today featuring one glaring omission. There are still no funds earmarked to build the Whitby hospital for the third budget since the town was chosen to host.

Lakeridge Health picked a spot near the intersection of Hwy. 412 and Hwy. 407 to host its seventh hospital in Durham Region way back in January 2022. The site is meant to become the only trauma centre between Toronto and Kingston.

However, despite the site selection, the Province of Ontario is largely responsible for funding the project. For the hospital to finally begin construction, Ontario has to send $3 million just to get the site ready for construction.

A year after Lakeridge chose Whitby to host the new hospital, the funds had not arrived, prompting then-newly elected Mayor Elizabeth Roy to demand the Province “reaffirm” their support.

So far they’ve had to wait yet another year, prompting Roy to lead a public advocacy charge to demand action on the hospital. “For two years, we have waited patiently,” she said, “That’s why I’m asking residents to speak out and join our advocacy efforts.” She started an online letter-writing campaign to get Whitby resident’s demands for the hospital to the Premier’s desk. (Those who wish to take part can do so here.)

Following this campaign, Premier Doug Ford confirmed to CKDO Radio  host Terry Johnson “There’s going to be a Whitby hospital.” However, he added the caveat that the province was not currently issuing planning grants. He did note that Whitby MPP and his Parliamentary Secretary Lorne Coe is “always on him” about the hospital

Other voices soon joined Roy including Oshawa’s opposition MPP Jennifer French who rose in Queen’s Park to demand action on the file and asked what the hold-up was. Health Minister Sylvia Jones demurred insisting Coe continued to advocate for the Whitby hospital but the government was working on other health projects.

After today’s announcement in Queen’s Park, however, it looks like Whitby will be waiting for a third year for the project to begin. On March 26, Ontario Finance Minister and Pickering-Uxbridge MPP presented the 2024 budget.

While the budget included billions in capital grants for 10 existing hospitals over ten years and in funds for other health projects, it didn’t earmark much for new hospital locations.

Roy called the lack of funds for Whitby’s hospital “unacceptable” especially given Ford’s comments on CKDO. “I remain hopeful that this funding will be announced promptly, and I will continue to advocate at every opportunity,” she continued, ” I share the deep frustration and disappointment of our residents, who are telling the Province loud and clear that we need a new hospital – and whose voices are being ignored.”

“Durham is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada, with a health care system that is already stretched to the limit,” she said, “The Province has mandated that Whitby build 18,000 new homes by 2031, but isn’t investing in the necessary infrastructure to support this growth.” The Region is set to double in population to 1.5 million people by 2025.

“As Whitby’s mayor, as a Whitby resident, as a longtime healthcare worker, a mother and a grandmother, I urge the Province to do the right thing and bring more healthcare close to home in Durham,” she concluded.




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