Current Problems

Health (18-24)

Federal governments’ words feel like a ‘smokescreen’ say WAHA officials

May 29, 2024

Crumbling Northern medical facility new hospital campus not in the federal budget for 2024

new hospital campus

Chief Peter Wesley addresses the federal government at the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa on Monday. “Canada, where are you ?” Photo: Kerry Slack/APTN. 

APTN News: Staff and Weeneebayko Area Health Authority officials are urging the federal government to keep up their end of the deal on a new hospital campus for northern Ontario.

“What the Minister (Minister of Indigenous Services), is saying feels like a smokescreen,” said Elizabeth McCarthy, communications spokesperson for the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority, (WAHA).  “We have had numerous meetings. They have detailed estimates. They signed an agreement. They’re not caught off guard.”

Lack of money in the 2024- 2025 budget brought leaders from seven communities in northern Ontario to Ottawa on Monday.

After cabinet on Tuesday, the Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, said the federal government is supporting health in northern Ontario.

“We have supported Ontario with billions of dollars of transfers to improve health for all Ontarians, and we’ll continue to help them in meeting those responsibilities. My team is working closely with Ontario right now to ensure that the hospital gets filled.

“Indigenous people in Ontario deserve the same quality of care as everyone else.”

In addition, in a statement to APTN, Indigenous Services Canada said healthcare services are the responsibility of the provincial government, and they are doing what they can to speed up funds to keep WAHA afloat.

“Canada has also been providing $12 million per year to support the hospital’s operations since 2011. Additionally, we already committed $158.4 million to support the redevelopment project.