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Ontario government to build two long-term-care facilities in Oakville

Posted: October 14, 2021

(October 13, 2021)

By: Mansoor Tanweer, Oakville Beaver

Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips, riding counterparts, Mayor Rob Burton and various health-care executives were on hand to announce the creation of two long-term-care (LTC) facilities in Oakville.

The proposed facilities are expected to house 640 residents and will provide “culturally appropriate” services to the Hindu and Sikh communities.

The government and its partners hope to complete the work by 2025.

“The principle is, when it comes to our elders, language, music, food, faith, these are aspects that really make the experience better,” Phillips told the gathered crowd. “These are facilities that will broadly be open to the broader public. We understand that as Ontario changes, the delivery of care needs to change to reflect culturally unique elements.”

The proposed property will be located on a patch of former agricultural land at 2165 Dundas St. W. One of the few visible structures on the parcel is a dilapidated barn. The province announced last November that they wanted to sell the land to develop long-term-care homes.

Schlegel Villages Inc. has entered into a conditions agreement of purchase and sale for the property. The facilities will be a short distance from the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.

“We’re going to provide seniors day programs for seniors and the broader community (to) come in and receive services, when a provider, neighbours, club or seniors can come to access social programs, to have a meal, to have a medical appointment, to go to church service,” said president and CEO of Schlegel Villages Inc. Jaimie Schlegel.

Burton, who was accompanied by Ward 7 Councillor Pavan Parmar, praised the Ontario government for facilitating the new homes.

“For 15 years, I’ve been asking Ontario to deal with the deficit, the 800-bed long-term-care deficit in our town. And in one fell swoop, man, are you delivering.”

The Oakville stop is the latest in a multi-city blitz of long-term-care announcements. In late September, Phillips and local MPPs unveiled a 160-bed LTC building for the Faith Manor home. Just the day before the Oakville gathering, Phillips was in Vaughan to announce a 256-bed facility.

The land in that deal, 7231 Martin Grove Rd., was one of the surplus lands that was put up for sale along with 2165 Dundas St. W. The province signed a conditional agreement with Arch Vaughan Facility Inc. that was similar to the one with Schlegel Villages.

On Oct. 4, Oakville residents took part in a walk for LTC that was organized by the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC). Both the protesters and the OHC were highly critical of the government of Premier Doug Ford’s handling of the LTC crisis that developed in the wake of the pandemic.

Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission final report paints a picture of a sector that was neglected well before the provincial Tories came to power. However, it says that the Ford government “was slow, unco-ordinated and lacked urgency” toward the pandemic.

Last May, Ford defended Phillips’s predecessor, Merillee Fullerton, in the legislature, saying, “I know it’s easy for the Leader of the Opposition to blame my great minister, but the buck stops with me; that’s who it stops with. It stops with me and I’ll take responsibility.”

When asked if the creation of the Oakville and other LTC beds was a sort of mea culpa, Phillips said, “No. This is part of a plan that started well before COVID-19, when we recognized that the last government had only built 611 beds and we committed to building 30,000.”

He added: “Now we clearly learned from COVID, and I made it clear in the first chance I had as minister that everybody needs to do better and we’re committed to that.”

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