TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford is pledging $21 million to expand capacity and improve services at the William Osler Health System in Brampton, Ont.
Ford says $18 million of the new funding will go towards making the emergency room at the Peel Memorial hospital a 24-hour urgent care centre and $3 million will be invested to enhance the cancer care centre at the Brampton Civic Hospital.
He says the new investment is an addition to the $18 million in funding that was announced last year, which was also meant to turn Peel Memorial’s emergency room into a 24-hour operation.
Ford says these funding commitments are part of his government’s plan to invest more than $30 billion over the next 10 years to improve the province’s health care infrastructure.
He says his government plan will eventually provide 250 new hospital beds in the city northwest of Toronto.
“Of course, building these new beds is just one part of solving the problem, because each of these new beds, each additional service that is available means we need more trained doctors to properly staff them,” he said at a Sunday-morning press conference.
“That’s way our government is adding 160 undergraduate positions and 295 postgraduate positions to Ontario’s medical schools.”
Health Minister Christine Elliott and Brampton South MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria joined Ford to announce the funding at the Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness.
Local officials have long called for added health-care services in the city of more than 650,000.
The William Osler Health System, of which Peel Memorial and Brampton Civic are a part, declared a “Code Orange” in early January when the Omicron variant of COVID-19 ripped through Ontario, as demand for service outpaced what the city could offer.
That led to patient transfers and other measures like halting scheduled surgeries to free up capacity.
The Progressive Conservative government has made a string of health spending announcements in recent weeks, with the provincial election fast approaching.
They include $17.1 million to Toronto’s University Health Network, $3 million to North York General Hospital, and $1.2 million in funding for mental health services in Espanola, Ont., and the surrounding area — all in the last two weeks.
Ontarians are expected to head to the polls in early June, and the official campaign is expected to begin early next month.
NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh says Ford has delayed investing in the Brampton hospital until just before the election, noting that these funding announcements won’t be in the province’s budget this year.
“Overcrowding is breaking hospital care in Brampton, and families are sick and tired of campaign promises that never come true,” she says in a statement.
“If Doug Ford was actually going to deliver for Brampton, he’d have done it by now. Even this election promise falls hundreds of beds short.”