Government of Canada Announces Funding for New COVID-19 Safe Voluntary Isolation Centre in Waterloo, Ontario

News release

January 11, 2021 | Waterloo, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

The Government of Canada remains committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, for some Canadians, crowded housing conditions and restrictive costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, increasing the risk of community transmission.

Today, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $4.1 million, over 15 months, for Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services to continue a safe, voluntary isolation site. This site opened on December 10, 2020 and is helping Canadians in Waterloo Region who have COVID-19, or have been exposed to it, access accommodations to keep themselves and their community safe.

Voluntary isolation sites reduce the risks of spread of the virus among household contacts, especially in Canada's most densely populated urban centres. These sites are one of the rapid response tools we have to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and they can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks.

The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites program exists to fill a gap for urban centres and municipalities that are at-risk of high rates of transmission, as evidence indicates that individuals from lower-income and densely populated neighbourhoods are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including its most severe outcomes.

Sites selected under the Program provide a centralized location where identified individuals can safely self-isolate for the required period. Local public health officials will identify eligible individuals who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis. For example, if a person is COVID-19 positive and lives in a home where there is no separate room in which they can isolate, they may be considered as a candidate for the voluntary self-isolation site. Individuals from the same household may also be considered if, for example, they cannot maintain a safe distance from a positive case(s).


"Protecting Canadians from COVID-19 and helping stop the spread is a community effort. The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program is supporting communities like Waterloo Region so they can assist residents with self-isolation, when it may be difficult to do so."

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

"I am very grateful for the opportunities this funding will provide Waterloo Region in our fight against COVID-19. For many of our residents who have tested positive or are awaiting test results, this is the support they need if they cannot safely isolate at home."

Karen Redman
Regional Chair, Region of Waterloo

"We know that household transmission is a major driver of COVID-19 spread, especially when people cannot safely self-isolate. This funding, to establish a voluntary isolation centre in our region, will greatly increase our ability to support residents of Waterloo Region when they cannot properly self-isolate at home."

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang
Medical Officer of Health, Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services

Quick Facts

  • Waterloo Region is the fourth location to receive funding through the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program, following the funding provided to Toronto Public Health, Peel Public Health and Ottawa Public Health.
  • The site will have approximately 54 rooms to accommodate individuals in the Region of Waterloo who are unable to safely self-isolate at home.
  • Densely-populated neighbourhoods make it difficult for some to safely self-isolate, contributing to a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Regular monitoring and reporting of each safe voluntary isolate site will be conducted in coordination with local public health officials.
  • The sharing of best practices will be encouraged among the selected isolation sites to optimize effective site operation and the administration of services to Canadians who access the sites.
  • To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are advised to follow local public health measures, avoid places that do not have controls in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms.

Associated Links

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Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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