The Trudeau Liberals will be granting Toronto with $14 million in taxpayer dollars to run quarantine facilities for those who are unable to stay at home.
The announcement was made by Health Minister Patty Hajdu from city hall, alongside Toronto Mayor John Tory and Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health.
The announcement came after days of Ontario cases reaching nearly 200 new confirmed cases a day—rates that mirror those of the early pandemic.
A majority of the cases reported have been in the Toronto area.
Hajdu told media that the $13.9 million would allow the government to cover operating costs of a 140-bed hotel for 12 months where voluntary where people will be able to self isolate. This, Hajdu says, will reduce the spread between those with roommates or those in multi-generation homes.
“Think about people who have to share bedrooms, washrooms or kitchen facilities. It can be incredibly challenging to stay separate from household members when you are sick with COVID-19 and we have heard heartbreaking stories of people knowing that they are ill and knowing that they don’t have the capacity to stop spread within their own home,” said Hajdu. “So this space will be available for people who live in housing that lacks the necessary space to allow for that proper distancing and this will help contribute to a reduction in the spread of the virus.”
The facility is the first of its kind in the country, with the Toronto Board of Health having requested the operation. Large cities in the US have similar systems in place, such as New York City.
Mayor Tory said that the system would help those who are low income: “Data has shown us that low income neighbourhoods have been disproportionately affected in part because individuals living in these communities, once they tested positive, may have then experienced difficulty in being able to properly isolate themselves."