George Smitherman, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) announced today $45.6 million in capital funding for the redevelopment of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute's University Centre.

Toronto (May 9, 2004) - George Smitherman, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) announced today $45.6 million in capital funding for the redevelopment of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute's University Centre.

The MOHLTC's funding, approved last fiscal year, officially launches the leadership phase of Toronto Rehab's capital fundraising for its $115 million Redevelopment Project.

"People recovering from life-altering injury or illness deserve every opportunity possible to rebuild their lives," Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman said after he toured one of the hospital's therapy areas today. "We are making real, positive change by helping Toronto Rehab expand and modernize its facilities so that it can continue to provide the specialized care and engage in the kind of research for which it's renowned."

"This is a far-sighted investment in rehabilitation services that will benefit people in all parts of Ontario and well beyond," says Barbara Stymiest, Chair of Everything Humanly Possible: The Campaign for Toronto Rehab. "It recognizes the crucial role rehabilitation plays in our health care system - putting people on the road to recovery following acute illness or injury, as well as the need to develop new knowledge in this emerging field."

Each year, serious illness or injury changes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Canadians. The need for rehabilitation will increase dramatically in coming years as more and more lives are saved thanks to advances in medical science and technology, and as the population ages.

"We're delighted with today's announcement, which will have a major impact," says Mark Rochon, President and CEO, Toronto Rehab. "The new funding will help to extend the reach and capacity of our rehabilitation services. It will help us develop new techniques to enhance rehabilitative care, and train the health care specialists of tomorrow in rehab science and complex continuing care."

Specifically, the announcement is a major contribution to the extensive redevelopment and expansion of 550 University Ave. (the former Mt. Sinai Hospital), providing purpose-built environments for patient care, research and education that will benefit Ontarians and make a positive contribution to Ontario's health care system.

Highlights include:

  • Patient Care: A new 12-storey tower added to the southwest corner of the existing building will allow for increased outpatient capacity, more spacious and private inpatient rooms, on-unit therapy spaces and facilities that are more conducive to rehabilitation and recovery;
  • Research: New research laboratories and testing facilities to accommodate teams of scientists recruited from across Canada and internationally. This will result in 17,500 square feet dedicated to house Toronto Rehab's growing research program;
  • Education: Dedicated education space to accommodate the increasing number of students who come to Toronto Rehab to complete their clinical training in a variety of healthcare disciplines; and the ongoing professional development and education provided for practitioners from across the country.

In addition to these structural improvements, Toronto Rehab's Redevelopment Project includes $10 million for the creation of five endowed research chairs. Two chairs (totaling $5 million) have already been created and a third is expected to be announced next month.

An additional $2.2 million in capital funds was received from the Ministry in 2002 for the renewal of Toronto Rehab's Lyndhurst Centre to accommodate new and enhanced outpatient and therapeutic day services for people with spinal cord injuries and disease. Another $3 million was allocated in 2000 for a number of infrastructure upgrades, including the construction of a new, fully accessible front entrance at the hospital's University Centre.

Every year, Toronto Rehab helps more than 15,000 people who suffer from heart attack, stroke and spinal cord injury or disease to rebuild their lives physically and emotionally. The hospital sees patients from all parts of Ontario, and across Canada.

"The staff at Toronto Rehab made it possible for me to meet new challenges and learn new skills after a devastating brain injury," says Leslie Bolt, a former patient. "Simply put, they helped me get on with my life. That's why I'm so excited that this government is investing in Toronto Rehab."

About Toronto Rehab

A fully affiliated teaching hospital of the University of Toronto, Toronto Rehab is Canada's largest hospital that provides adult rehabilitation services and complex continuing care. Toronto Rehab is advancing rehabilitation knowledge and practice through research, education and patient care. For more information about Toronto Rehab, please visit our website at www.torontorehab.com.

Media Contact

Phone: 416 340 4636
Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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