Ontario NDP promise to build new hospital, expand another in Brampton

·3 min read

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Ontario's New Democrats are promising to expand one hospital in Brampton and build a new one in the city if elected to form government in June.

Party Leader Andrea Horwath says the growing Toronto-area community hasn't had its fair share of health facilities and her party wants to change that.

The NDP says it would pay for an expansion of Peel Memorial Hospital that would include a 24-hour emergency department.

It's also promising to establish a cancer centre in the community and build a new hospital.

Horwath says timelines and costs for various projects will be included in her party's costed platform, which she has repeatedly said is coming soon.

She pledged, however, that work on the projects would start "immediately."

"People in Brampton have waited too long and they've been ripped off," she said at the Friday announcement hosted outside Brampton Civic Hospital, the city's only full-service hospital.

"We're not going to rip off the people of Brampton, we're going to get these things done because they deserve no less. They deserve to have their healthcare needs addressed."

Brampton, a city with a population of 656,480 as of the 2021 census that's home to many essential frontline workers, was hit particularly hard by COVID-19.

The impact of the pandemic has prompted renewed calls for governments to address the relative dearth of health-care services in the community.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford also made several health-care focused stops in the city in the lead-up to the election call, including a promise to establish a new medical school in Brampton.

Navjit Kaur said her community's healthcare needs factored into her decision to run as the NDP's candidate in Brampton West.

The registered respiratory therapist said she treated families sick with COVID-19 during the pandemic who had to be separated due to lack of local resources, with some people transferred as far away as London, Ont.

"It was devastating," she said after the announcement. "That's one of the things that motivated me to run, to make sure we're helping the people in Brampton and making sure this does not happen again."

Kaur said she has also treated people in the community with long COVID who have severe complications after being infected with the virus, and said having more local health facilities would hopefully help those patients with their long-term needs.

Also on Friday, the New Democrats detailed their housing policy including a plan to spur the construction of 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years if elected.

Horwath said her housing plan, which would see a net cost of $3.7 billion over the first four years, aims to make it more affordable for families to have their own home, not speculators wanting to make a fortune.

"I want you to hold onto your dreams of home ownership," she said. "We have a plan that will give you a lifeline, that will give you that chance to be able to own your own home."

Horwath's goal of 1.5 million homes is the same number recommended by a government-commissioned task force report earlier this year, and she said it would include a mix of starter homes, purpose-built rentals and affordable housing units.

The NDP plan would end exclusionary zoning and update growth policies to increase the supply of affordable housing in pedestrian- and transit-friendly neighbourhoods.

They also promise to establish Housing Ontario, a body that would finance and build at least 250,000 affordable and non-market rental homes over 10 years, operated by public, non-profit and co-op housing providers.

The New Democrats also said they would provide help for first-time home buyers, including giving people from households with incomes under $200,000 access to home equity loans of up to 10 per cent of the purchase price to help with their down payment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2022.

- With files from Allison Jones

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

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