The Government of Canada announced an additional investment of $1.2 billion for the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) Hospital Redevelopment Project.

Funding towards the redevelopment project will serve the 12,000 people in the Weeneebayko region, providing them with fair access to quality healthcare services closer to home. This includes the construction of a new hospital facility, administrative offices, staff accommodations and a dedicated Ambulatory Care Centre on Moose Factory Island.

“We have been clear since the beginning that the Federal Government would be there to get this hospital built. This $1.2 billion announcement will help First Nations in Northern Ontario have fair access to quality healthcare. Thanks to the leadership of the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority, the 12,000 people in the Weeneebayko region will have the services they need closer to home,” said Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada.

Canada is also accelerating investments to make health and safety improvements to the existing Weeneebayko General Hospital facility.

“In the spirit of truth and reconciliation I am thankful and appreciate Canada in fulfilling their commitment to our new healthcare campus in Moosonee and ambulatory care center in Moose Factory. This is a pivotal step to ensuring the health, safety, and dignity of our First Nations communities. We look forward to working closely with Minister Hajdu and her team to bring this long overdue project to fruition,” said president and CEO Lynne Innes, Weeneebayko Area Health Authority.

This federal funding, which will be flowed through the Province of Ontario and WAHA, will ensure that Indigenous Peoples and patients in remote northern Ontario communities have the healthcare services they need now, and into the future.

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The Government of Ontario also announced it is investing an additional $44 million in funding to support the design and early works construction of the new, culturally appropriate health campus in Moosonee which includes the hospital and Elder care lodge, as well as a new ambulatory care centre on Moose Factory Island. This investment is in addition to the nearly $1.3 billion Ontario has committed to the entire project.

“Our government is taking action to connect people in Ontario to the care they need, when they need it, no matter where they live,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “The redevelopment of the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority is critical to ensuring those living in the Western James Bay and Hudson Bay Coast areas can access care and we are doing everything we can to keep this project on track.”

“We welcome the federal government’s commitment to fund the completion of the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) Hospital. This marks a significant step forward in fulfilling a longstanding promise. However, the delay in prioritizing the health and well-being of First Nations highlights the urgent need for culturally informed care that upholds First Nations inherent and Treaty rights and our right to self-determination.

Moving forward, we expect the government to continue fulfilling its commitments to First Nations by ensuring transformative change towards First Nations-led health care programs and services. This includes sustainable funding, increased capacity and improved healthcare facilities that are strengths-based and culturally informed,” said National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak, Assembly of First Nations (AFN).

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Featured image: Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada (left) and National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak, Assembly of First Nations.  (Government of Canada)

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