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Far North health authority calls funding missing in federal budget 'a huge setback,' could halt new hospital construction


More than a year after Queen’s Park and Ottawa both agreed to build a new healthcare complex in Moosonee, Ont., to serve Far North Indigenous communities – however, the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) recently learned that the federal government is not upholding its funding commitment this year and did not allocate more than a billion dollars in promised funding in its 2024 budget.

An undated photo of Weeneebayko General Hospital on Moose Factory Island in the Far North that opened in 1949 that is set to be replaced by a new state-of-the-art facility in Moosonee, Ont. (File photo/Supplied/Weeneebayko Area Health Authority Foundation)

Lynne Innes, WAHA’s CEO told CTV News that the organization was expecting to see $1.3 billion, the federal share of the new hospital currently under construction, listed in the federal budget.

WAHA officials said this will put the project in jeopardy, with preparations underway to begin construction this summer.

The new state-of-the-art facility is set to replace the 75-year-old Weeneebayko General Hospital on Moose Factory Island.

Officials are now only hearing vague comments from Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu that she will “get that hospital built.”

“It's a huge setback. It's, really disrespectful of the federal government, knowing that our current facility is approaching its 75th year of life,” said Innes.

“We have the worst, hospital in the country. It's beyond repair, as well as the majority of the other sites that WAHA has.”

Innes called the project critical to moving forward with the redevelopment of the new health campus and Moose Factory ambulatory care centre.

WAHA officials said they are not sure if the lack of federal funding will mean the project will be delayed or permanently shelved and they have requested a meeting with Hajdu and Prime Minister Trudeau on May 16. Top Stories

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