FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2020
BAY OF QUINTE – Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced the Province is keeping transit riders and operators safe and reducing the transmission of COVID-19 by providing three local municipalities with $63,964 to cover additional cleaning costs for municipal transit systems in light of the pandemic.
As part of a $15-million investment across Ontario, Belleville will receive $32,876, Quinte West will receive $21,848, and Prince Edward County will receive $9,240. This enhanced municipal transit cleaning funding builds upon recommendations in the recently released safety guidance for public transit agencies and supports safe and reliable public transit that will get people moving, reduce congestion, and drive economic growth.
“Our government’s top priority is keeping people safe as we reopen the province,” said Smith. “This enhanced cleaning will give Bay of Quinte residents confidence that they can continue using public transit safely to access work, shopping, appointments and other priorities. In turn, our businesses will benefit from that confidence.”
Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, said the funding is also a recognition that municipalities have also felt a financial impact from COVID-19.
“We recognize that municipal transit agencies across the province are facing significant financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Mulroney. “That is why we are providing funding for enhanced cleaning on public transit systems and continuing to work closely with our municipal partners to support safety on public transit.”
Today’s announcement is part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. This $17-billion immediate response provides urgent support to help Ontario’s businesses, workers, seniors, families, students, Indigenous peoples and communities, and vulnerable populations during COVID-19.
The action plan includes $3.3 billion of additional resources for health care, $3.7 billion to support people and jobs, and it makes available $10 billion for people and businesses through interest and penalty relief measures to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.
"COVID-19 has presented many financial challenges for the City of Belleville -- including how to sanitize our buses in order to keep our transit riders and staff safe. Our cleaning costs have more than doubled during this time and no fares have been collected so this service has been a costly one to maintain. These funds are a recognition of the work our transit staff have been doing and we certainly appreciate this financial support."
Mitch Panciuk, Mayor, City of Belleville
“As Prince Edward County gradually reopens, our residents will once again need safe and reliable public transit to get to and from their work and appointments. Our public transit provider, Quinte Access, is taking extra precautions with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, and we welcome the Province of Ontario’s additional support for this additional safety measures.”
Steve Ferguson, Mayor, Prince Edward County
"We are so pleased to be receiving this funding from the Province. Keeping our Quinte Access buses clean has been a top priority for the City of Quinte West during the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will allow us to continue offering our public transit users the safest possible experience."
Jim Harrison, Mayor, City of Quinte West
- A Framework for Reopening Our Province – www.ontario.ca/page/framework-reopening-our-province
- Guidance for transit agencies and passengers –www.ontario.ca/page/guidance-public-transit-agencies-and-passengers-response-covid-19
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2020
PICTON – The Ontario government affirmed its support for a new Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital today by announcing Quinte Health Care (QHC) is approved to move into the next phase of development.
Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, confirmed that Minister of Health Christine Elliott has approved the hospital corporation’s Stage2: Functional Program Submission and allowed it to proceed to Stage 3.1 Block Schematic Report.
Smith said the approval would allow QHC to begin detailed planning and design work for a new hospital, which includes 18 in-patient beds (with space for five additional beds), a 24-7 emergency department, diagnostic imaging, a surgical suite, dialysis and ambulatory care. The new building would be located on the existing hospital site, west of the current facility.
“Our government recognizes the need to build a modern, full-service hospital for Prince Edward County and we are satisfied by the extensive planning done by Quinte Health Care and the enthusiasm from the community to back the build,” said Smith. “Today’s approval to begin detailed design work offers terrific momentum to push this project forward toward breaking ground.”
Brad Harrington, QHC’s Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer welcomed news of the milestone.
“Building a new Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital represents an outstanding collaborative effort reinforced by the unwavering support of this community. Our planning team, comprised of staff, physicians, and community partners, are extremely grateful that the Province has given us the green light to move forward,” said Harrington.
Harrington said the next phase of redevelopment would allow QHC to examine the layout of the facility closely, considering the overall layout, where rooms will be located, and the functionality of each space.
“Our team is eager to get to work as we take a momentous step toward building a new hospital to serve the residents of Prince Edward County today and into the future.”
Barbara McConnell, the Chair of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation said the approval “gives us confidence that we will have our new hospital in the county.”
McConnell described the build as the biggest project her community has ever taken and she expressed gratitude to the many contributors who brought the redevelopment to its current stage.
“We would not be here today celebrating this good news without the help of so many essential partners: QHC’s leadership team, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, the County of Prince Edward, the Prince Edward Family Health Team, the PECMH Auxiliary, our campaign cabinet, our foundation’s board of directors and staff, and most importantly, our donors,” McConnell said. “Every day, we see the powerful ways that our donors have an immediate and lasting effect on the way our community hospital delivers health care.”
According to McConnell, the PECMHF has raised over $11.3 million in pledges toward the community’s $16.5-million goal. She encouraged those who have pledged or who will pledge to donate.
“As you can see, we have a lot of work ahead before our hospital is in place, and with this news, we are eager to get started.”
Smith said the Province has demonstrated it is eager to support QHC services in Prince Edward County and at all of its sites, reiterating that Ontario has committed to stabilized annual funding for the multi-site hospital, including a 6.1-per-cent increase in base funding for 2020-2021.
“We will take every measure to ensure Ontario residents – including those in rural communities like Prince Edward County - receive the health-care services they need to stay safe and well,” he said. “This year alone, we’ve invested $3.3 billion more in health sector. Beyond that, our 10-year capital plan envisions $17 billion in investments to build new, state-of-the-art hospital capacity, including important projects like this one that means so much to our community.”
Ontario’s March financial update – budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/contents.html
QHC PECMH redevelopment information – www.qhc.on.ca/redevelopment.php
PECMHF Back the Build campaign – www.pecmhf.ca
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 2020
Belleville – The Ontario government is building critical health-care capacity in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties through investments of close to $14 million in Quinte Health Care (QHC) hospitals.
Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, and Daryl Kramp, MPP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington, announced today that the Province is providing a 6.1-per-cent increase in base operating funding for QHC. That total reflects the annualization of a $5-million increase announced in 2019-2020 as part of a top-up fund to support small- and medium-sized hospitals, plus an additional investment of $4,661,555 in 2020-2021.
To be clear, that's an additional $9,661,555 this funding year alone on top of the $5-million increase for 2019-2020 announced in October.
Further, the government will invest $4.3 million in one-time capital funding to increase capacity in Belleville General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit to 18 beds from the current 14. Expansion construction is to begin this summer.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of having modern, functional hospital facilities with sufficient capacity to meet any eventuality,” said Smith. “Today, we’re delivering on our promise to rebuild our health-care system with tangible commitments to support the front lines of care.”
Added Kramp: “These are extraordinary times that demand extraordinary measures. That is why our government is investing millions in hospitals to ensure their ongoing readiness. This includes funding for up to 1,000 acute care beds, 500 critical care beds, and assessment centres. Our goal is clear. We are going to protect the health of Ontarians.”
Stuart Wright, the Chairman of QHC’s board of directors, had long advocated for the Province to address funding inequities affecting multi-site hospitals. He expressed satisfaction the government has listened.
“MPPs Todd Smith and Daryl Kramp made a commitment last October that the one-time funding dollars announced at that time would be a bridge that leads to the eventual right-sizing of QHC’s annual base funding,” Wright said. “Today, our local MPP partners have fulfilled that commitment, putting our hospital funding levels on par with other hospitals in Ontario. Thank you for seeing the inequity and taking the actions needed to correct this long-standing challenge.”
Mary Clare Egberts, QHC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, added the Intensive Care Unit upgrade will benefit patients not just from Belleville, but across the region.
“I am exceedingly grateful for the support needed from the province to move ahead with expanding the regional Intensive Care Unit, located at Belleville General Hospital. Expanding the unit is integral to meeting the increased patient care needs of the sickest patients in the areas served by all four QHC hospitals. This will allow our team of dedicated staff and physicians the appropriate space required for extending safe, quality patient care for acutely ill patients.”
Both announcements are reflective of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, released March 25. At that time, the government committed to an additional $935 million in new investments for Ontario hospitals. Some $594 million will support hospitals in meeting current and future demand for regular services – a three-per-cent increase from 2019-2020. An additional $341 million was committed to ongoing readiness to treat an increasing number of COVID-19 patients. The commitment also provides stable, equitable funding.
“We have listened to patients, frontline staff and key stakeholders to determine how we can fix historical inequities to provide financial stability and relief to hospitals, regardless of their size,” said Minister of Health and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott.
Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 – budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/action-plan.html