THUNDER BAY, ON, March 29, 2021 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. However, for some individuals, crowded housing or congregate living settings can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, increasing the risk of community transmission.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $1.5 million for a Safe Voluntary Isolation Site for residents of Thunder Bay and surrounding communities. This funding will support the expansion of the current isolation shelter, which has been operated by St. Joseph’s Care Group and a number of health system partners since April 2020. This will ensure that residents have continued access to accommodations to keep them, their families and their community safe.

Voluntary Isolation Sites reduce the risks of spread of COVID-19 among household contacts, especially in locations where people face crowded housing conditions. These sites are one of the rapid response tools helping stop the spread of COVID-19, and can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks.

The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program exists to fill a gap for cities, municipalities, and health regions that are at-risk of high rates of transmission, as evidence indicates that individuals living in crowded housing and congregate settings are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including its most severe outcomes.

Sites selected under the Program give local public health officials tools for at-risk individuals to safely self-isolate. Local public health officials identify eligible individuals who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis.


“Ensuring that everyone is healthy is the best way to protect all of us. This safe, voluntary isolation site in Thunder Bay will provide a place people can isolate if they are not able to safely do that at home. This funding will support another important tool for our health leaders to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“This funding preserves a vital part of our community’s response to COVID-19, and gives us the flexibility to quickly meet in-the-moment demand for voluntary isolation spaces. For people who do not have an appropriate place to self-isolate, it ensures access to health and social supports they need while keeping their loved ones and communities safe.”

Tracy Buckler, President & CEO
St. Joseph’s Care Group

Quick Facts

  • The funding was provided to St. Joseph’s Care Group, on behalf of the City of Thunder Bay. The site is designed to assist individuals in the city and surrounding communities who are unable to safely self-isolate if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 and/or identified by local public health officials as a high-risk contact.

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada is providing the funding through the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program beginning on April 1, 2021.

  • As part of Canada’s rapid response tools against the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is providing a total of $100 million in funding to municipalities and health regions to establish Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites across the country.

  • To date, the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites program has provided $54.4 million to support projects in Ontario, which totals approximately 2,015 rooms in the province.

  • Regular monitoring and reporting of each safe voluntary isolate site will be conducted in coordination with local public health officials and third-party site operators.

  • The sharing of best practices will be encouraged among the selected isolation sites to optimize effective site operation and the administration of services to individuals who access the sites.

  • To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are advised to follow local public health measures, avoid places that do not have controls in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms.

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SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada



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