Essential project to build long-term care facility in Treaty #3 on hold until Ontario Premier Doug Ford takes the next step
Grand Council Treaty #3
Even after receiving a letter in May 2018 from Ontario, under the former Wynne leadership, confirming funds for the construction of a much-needed First Nation Seniors’ Housing and Long-Term Care facility, Treaty #3 has yet to hear from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care on moving forward with the essential project.
“To date we have not received any funds and therefore unable complete further applications to move forward with this project. We are getting concerned that nobody from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care reached out to us after we received this letter,” said Couchiching First Nation Chief Brian Perrault who is part of the tri-partite Working Group that helped secure the agreement with the province.
Currently Rainycrest Long Term Care (RLTC) which operates a 164-bed long-term care facility offering a variety of programs, services and amenities is under third-party management as a result of care issues and staffing issues identified in previous inspections by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
New admissions to the home have been suspended for almost a year. The health ministry issues orders when it determines that care at a nursing home falls short of the standards laid out in provincial legislation. The facility has 164 beds, but since the freeze on admissions was imposed last February, the number of residents has fallen to 107. The beds include two respite beds, four convalescent beds, ten short-term stay beds and 148 Long Term Care beds.
“There are almost 60 vacant beds which have put a great deal of stress on our communities, because there is no place for our Elders to go if they need long term care,” said Chief Perrault. “Our community members can also no longer access convalescent care or respite services due to the closure of admissions to the facility. Our Elders are being discharged from hospital without the opportunity to properly recuperate.”
The Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services (FFTAHS) is part of the tri-partite Working Group on First Nation Seniors’ Housing and Long-Term Care which submitted a letter of interest to be part of a demonstration project in January 2018.
In April, the Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services identified that they have the capacity and resources to successfully carry out the planning, construction and operations of the long-term facility project. However, there is a need for stakeholder engagement regarding design and project costs that Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services cannot complete because First Nations do not receive funding to support these types of projects.
“We are currently reaching out to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and to Premier Doug Ford’s government to clarify this issue and hopefully move forward with providing our citizens with professional and proper long term care that every Canadian deserves,” said Chief Perrault.
About Grand Council Treaty #3
Grand Council Treaty #3’s overall goal is the protection, preservation and enhancement of Treaty and Aboriginal rights. Grand Council Treaty #3 is 55,000 sq. miles spanning from west of Thunder Bay to north of Sioux Lookout, along the international border, to the province of Manitoba. It is made up of 28 First Nation communities, with a total population of approximately 25,000.