In December 2015, elected officials for both the City of Windsor and the County of Essex demonstrated true leadership that positions us closer to the vision of a state-of-the-art new hospital system for our region by confirming their support for a levy to cover our required 10% share of the $2-billion investment. The 90% share of the investment will come from the Province of Ontario.

On December 16 and 21, 2015, Dave Cooke, Co-Chair Program and Services Steering Committee, Janice Kaffer, President and CEO, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare and David Musyj, President and CEO Windsor Regional Hospital, attended before both the Essex County Council and City of Windsor Council, respectively, on the Building on Our Strengths the Proposed Windsor-Essex Healthcare System. Dave, Janice and David updated both councils on the July 2015 announcement of the proposed $2-billion investment for a new acute care hospital, an Urgent Care Centre at the former Grace campus, new Ouellette and Tayfour campus investments. They also provided a brief history dating back to 2012 and spoke about the extensive community engagement that has occurred to get to this point in the process.

They stressed the need to show the Province of Ontario that our community is serious about wanting the Province to invest 90% of the cost of the project. The way we show the Province we are serious is we need to indicate that we will support, as a region, the legislated 10% “local share” contribution.

Overwhelmingly, the Councils supported in principle the concept of a levy to achieve the 10% local share – by a unanimous vote at County Council, and a 9-1 vote at Windsor City Council.

Here are some important points to remember about the project that is found in the motions and presentation made to the councils:

  • The maximum amount needed is $200 million dollars from the City and the County combined;
  • The $200 million will be reduced by any fundraising that happens towards the construction project itself.
  • The $200 million, less any fundraising amount, will not be required by the hospital from the City and County before January 1 2026.
  • By starting to raise the funds now, we can lessen the annual impact on residents, allow interest to be earned and also show the Province we are serious. We cannot wait until the project starts – there would not be enough time to raise the required funds.
  • The City and the County will hold onto the monies raised by a levy until the new state of the art acute care hospital is open (i.e. approximately three months before completion).
  • If the project does not proceed the City and the County keep the levy monies.
  • The City and the County will remain members of the Program and Services Steering Committee, as they have from the start in 2013, to ensure they are directly involved with and regularly updated on the progress of the project.

During the sessions the following is just a sampling of the amazing comments that were made regarding the plan, the process to date and our future:

“We’ve been part of this conversation all along, and I for one am very, very excited about what’s going to happen here. I’m excited for the future of this, and I think we all need to be together at this point and, like the County has, rally behind this process. We need to send a signal to the province that there is no division in this community.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens

“This is something, I think, that is for the next 75 to 100 years from now. This is about building our community. This is about taking care of our own. This is about establishing health care that is second to none.”
Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara

“What I see in front of us right now is a proposal for a new hospital – a $2-billion infrastructure investment in not only our city but our region that the province of Ontario will pay 90 per cent for. What this motion puts forward is moving us to the next phase on that.”
Windsor Councillor (Ward 1) Fred Francis

“I have seven great grandsons that are going to benefit from this.”
Essex Mayor Ron McDermott

“I have family, I have grandkids. This isn’t something that I look at for me. I look at the generations coming. And that’s important for what I’d like to see for my kids and my grandkids.”
Windsor Councillor (Ward 2) John Elliott

“We have to do something for the future … We have an option – the option is to say no and let (the City of) Ottawa take the money. I don’t think that’s a realistic option. The realistic option is to move forward.”
Kingsville Deputy Mayor Gord Queen

“We’re going to end up with a new state-of-the-art hospital. .. Working with the County is really important. Hopefully it can open some kind of doors to have some kind of regional co-operation. … We have to work together.”
Windsor Councillor (Ward 5) Ed Sleiman

“We didn’t come this far to jump off the ship … We recognize it’s going to be a tough financial issue for the County and all of its member municipalities, but we also recognize the need in the region. This is a no-brainer. We cannot abandon something like this.”
LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya

“We owe it to ourselves, the people that are in Windsor now and also to future generations. It’s a very welcome thing to support.”
Windsor Councillor (Ward 9) Hilary Payne

“Thank you for all the work you have done up to now. You have done a lot of presentations. We have a pretty good understanding of what you have done to get us here.”
Amherstburg Mayor, Aldo Dicarlo

“I’m excited as we embark on this generational project, this generational journey. We’ve got a long road ahead of us … I don’t know what this hospital is going to look like in 10 years, I don’t know what the city is going to look like in 10 years. I do know that this hospital is going to have a huge impact. It’s going to impact all of us and the surrounding communities.”
Windsor Councillor (Ward 7) Irek Kusmierczyk

“When we started this process, the comment was made, that no matter where we propose this new hospital to be, there are going to be concerns expressed. What we have to do is move forward…does everybody agree on the location? No. There are people in the County who don’t agree with it, there are people in City that have concerns. But … we have to get beyond that. Are we willing to play a game of chicken with the Minister of Health in terms of this allocation of $1.8 billion? I’m not. I think we move forward.”
Windsor Councillor (Ward 6) Jo-Anne Gignac

“If (Premier) Wynne and her party are really serious about giving us $2 billion, that is just fantastic for this whole region – the economic impact on it.”
Windsor Councillor (Ward 10) Paul Borrelli

To view the presentations and the comments from Councilors and Mayors please go to following links:

County Council Meeting-December 16, 2015

Windsor City Council – 2016 Budget Meeting, December 21, 2015

To view a copy of the motion passed by County Council please go to:

Next steps:

Administrators for the City and County will determine how they are going to share the 10% investment and return to their respective councils with a plan on how it will be raised, and over what time period.