Government of Canada Announces Funding for COVID-19 Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites in Ontario
August 13, 2021 | Ottawa, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada
The Government of Canada is working with partners to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, for some people in Canada, crowded housing conditions and high costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, putting themselves, their families and communities at risk through no fault of their own.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced funding for projects across Ontario to operate safe voluntary isolation sites. The funding will support the following four projects:
- the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board for sites in Timmins, Cochrane, Hearst, Kapuskasing and Moosonee;
- the County of Hastings for a site in Belleville;
- the Kenora District Services Board for sites in Kenora and Sioux Lookout; and
- the City of Hamilton.
These sites help people who have COVID-19—or have been exposed to it—access safe isolation accommodations to keep themselves and their community safe. These are in addition to the sites available for people experiencing homelessness who need to isolate because of a positive test.
Voluntary isolation sites reduce the risk of spreading the virus among household contacts in situations where people are faced with crowded housing and do not have an alternative. These sites are one of the rapid response tools established to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks.
The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program directly supports cities, municipalities and health regions that are at-risk of COVID-19 community transmission. Sites selected under the Program provide an accessible location where people can safely self-isolate for the required period. Local public health officials determine eligible people who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis to keep them and their household contacts safe during an outbreak in their community.
“Protecting Canadians from COVID-19 and helping stop the spread is a community effort. The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program supports municipalities across Canada, including these projects in Ontario, so they can assist residents with safe places for self-isolation.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
“We appreciate the funding and support from the Government of Canada to aid in Hamilton’s community COVID-19 response. This funding helps sustain and offset the costs of a critical support in our community response to COVID-19 providing access to isolation accommodations to eligible community members who otherwise cannot safely isolate at home—protecting their families and keeping their community safe.”
City of Hamilton Mayor
“On behalf of Hastings County Council, I would like to thank the Public Health Agency of Canada for their work in helping to support our vulnerable population. These isolation sites will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially for our residents that live in crowded or precarious housing conditions, who will now be able to safely isolate and keep themselves, and those around them safe.”
Warden Rick Phillips
The Government of Canada is providing up to $5,525,126 in funding to four projects across Ontario to operate nine isolation sites totalling 194 rooms, including:
- up to $1,374,788 with five sites totalling 120 rooms for the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board;
- up to $1,551,066 with one site totalling 20 rooms for the County of Hastings;
- up to $2,275,600 with two sites totalling 40 rooms for the Kenora District Services Board; and
- up to $323,672 with one site totalling 14 rooms for the City of Hamilton.
The Government of Canada is providing a total of approximately $100 million in funding to municipalities and health regions to establish safe voluntary isolation sites across the country. This funding is part of Canada’s rapid response to the spread of COVID-19.
To date, the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program has provided $100.6 million to establish sites in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
Since the first safe voluntary isolation site opened in Toronto in September 2020, approximately 9,432 people have sought access and support through one of the federally-funded sites across the country.
Regular monitoring and reporting of safe voluntary isolation sites is conducted in coordination with local public health officials.
The sharing of best practices is encouraged among the selected isolation sites to improve how the sites operate and how services are delivered to the people who access them.
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.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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