Frequently Asked Questions


Has the pandemic played a role in planning?

Yes. In fact, any hospital built since the SARS epidemic in 2003 has been designed with special features to increase infection control. There have been additional findings from the COVID-19 pandemic that are impacting standards around features such as airborne-isolation rooms. And Ontario’s Ministry of Health now expects hospitals to shell in space for growth to be able to accommodate more beds in the case of a future pandemic.

When will the new hospital be built?

According to Infrastructure Ontario’s (IO) May 2022 Market Update, the tendering process will begin in early 2025 and construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2027. The construction period is expected to last approximately 4 years.

For more details, please refer to the Windsor-Essex Hospitals System timeline.

Why does it take so long to plan and design a hospital in Ontario?

Hospitals are among the most complex architectural and engineering projects to design and construct. They require complicated mechanical, electrical, and IT systems, and built-in flexibility to adapt to evolving technologies and demands in the future. In addition, hospital designs must meet or exceed CSA standards to ensure safe, accessible, and comfortable care.

A detailed outline including step-by-step process requirements for major infrastructure projects as they relate to the design and construction of the New Windsor/Essex Acute Care Hospital can be found in the June 2022 edition of the PMO Report.

How did we get to this point? (Project Milestones)

Work on the project began in 2012 when then Finance Minister Dwight Duncan created the Windsor Hospital’s Study Task Force to examine the possibility and need for a new regional acute care hospital to replace current facilities. View all project milestones.

Why do we need a new hospital?

  • Acute care services are currently divided between hospital campuses resulting in the fragmentation of services and ongoing challenges with patient transfers and patient flow across two sites.
  • The current facilities do not have adequate space to accommodate new and emerging health care technology and current standards of care.
  • The current hospitals are outdated, undersized and cannot accommodate current patient volumes or future service needs. The medical/surgical floors and emergency departments are less than half the size they should be using current standards which results in smaller patient rooms, cramped hallways and limited capacity for storage.
  • The current facilities make infection control challenging. Eighty percent of rooms in new Ontario hospitals must be designed for single patients to limit the spread of infections. Right now only 29% of rooms at WRH's Met Campus and 16% of the rooms at the Ouellette Campus are private.
  • The current facilities do not support the needs of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Windsor Campus, and our other partners in education.
  • With more modern facilities, we will be in an even better position to recruit and retain top physicians, front line staff and medical leaders, and in turn, advance the practices and services available to patients.
  • The Ouellette Campus is the site of the trauma centre, but air ambulances cannot land there, mostly due to flight patterns and because it was not designed to withstand the weight of a helicopter landing.
  • There are accessibility issues for patients, visitors and staff at the current locations due to "land locked" locations and inadequate space for parking.
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars will be required to redevelop the existing infrastructure. Building a new acute care facility is less costly than renovating the existing facilities.
  • We are planning for the future. Not only when the hospital opens, but also 20, 30, 40 and 50 years from now.Ground breaking for the project is still years away and expected to begin in 2027. In the meantime, our current facilities will continue to become more and more antiquated compared to new hospital standards. 
WATCH: This video takes us inside both WRH hospital campuses for a close up look at some of the oldest hospital infrastructures in Ontario.

How many beds will the new hospital have?

The new hospital will have more beds than the current two campuses combined, but the exact number is yet to be determined. Part of the planning involves looking at demographics and forecasting population trends to determine need. In addition, the new hospital will be built in a way that is more flexible, so there is room to expand based on the region's projected future needs. Sixty (60) acute mental health beds are moving to the Tayfour campus.

What is included in the plan to address the needs of patients in the downtown core?

A number of programs and services will continue to be offered at the Ouellette site including a satellite Emergency (Urgent Care), outpatient mental health, dialysis, diagnostic imaging, laboratory and pharmacy as well as some ambulatory care and outpatient surgical services.

How does the plan address Emergency Care needs of the region?

  • The plan calls for a new state-of-the-art Emergency Department (ED) at the new hospital site and an Urgent Care/Satellite ED in the city's core.
  • The hospital ED will be built and staffed for high volumes with at least the same number of physicians and other health care professionals that currently work in our two existing acute care hospitals combined. The new facility will be more efficient with separate emergency areas designed specifically to meet the needs of adult, geriatric and pediatric patients.
  • The Urgent Care/Satellite Emergency Centre run by Windsor Regional Hospital will be available to patients with less severe conditions. Forty percent of patients who currently use Windsor Regional Hospital emergency departments could be treated at this Centre. This model is currently being used in other parts of the province to ease pressure and reduce wait times in hospital emergency departments.
  • EMS transport planning will be part of future discussion.

WATCH: Dr. Paul Bradford, describes the benefits of the Satellite Emergency/Urgent Care model.

What is an Urgent Care Centre/Satellite Emergency Department?

A Satellite Emergency Centre is an alternate site for patients with less serious issues who do not require all the resources available in an emergency department. The new centre will be staffed by hospital emergency room staff and physicians and contain a CT scanner, a pharmacy and a lab.

This model of emergency care is used in other municipalities as a strategy to reduce wait times.

Approximately 90% of current WRH emergency room patients are not admitted to hospital and many of those patients would receive quicker treatment at a hospital-run Satellite ED.

How is an Urgent Care Centre/Satellite Emergency Department different from a hospital Emergency room?

These centres are not meant for patients with life-threatening issues and will not accept patients by ambulance. Hours of operation will be determined by volumes and demand and can change based on those same factors.

How is an Urgent Care Centre/Satellite Emergency Department different than a walk-in clinic?

The Satellite Emergency will be run by the Acute Care Hospital and staffed by hospital emergency physicians and emergency workers from the Acute Care Hospital.

Unlike a typical walk-in clinic, the UCC will include diagnostic imaging including a CT scanner, and laboratory services to allow physicians and other clinical staff to treat and diagnose more patient issues on-site.

Because it is part of the hospital system, patients can be admitted to the hospital from the UCC.

Is the new site accessible to all patients?

Accessibility was the number one criteria used to select the site. The new site is as accessible as or more accessible to patients, staff, physicians and physician offices than the current two campuses. The plan also includes services in downtown Windsor (urgent care, mental health, chronic pain management, dialysis, primary care, etc.) and additional services in Windsor West at the Tayfour Campus (dialysis, diagnostics, acute mental health) to improve accessibility throughout the entire system.

Although there are no bus services to the selected site right now, Transit Windsor will provide service to the new hospital when it opens.

Will Erie Shores Healthcare close as a result of this project?

No. Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington is an integral part of hospital services in the region. The current plan assumes all current services continue in Leamington. The CEO from Erie Shores Healthcare has been part of the planning process with representation on the Steering Committee for the new Windsor-Essex Hospitals System.

Most rooms in the new hospital will be single-patient rooms. What happens if I do not have coverage for a private room?

Hospitals built today must have at least 80% private rooms to limit the spread of infection and increase patient privacy. Those who do not have coverage for a private room will receive a free room upgrade if there are no semi-private or ward rooms available.

Where will the new hospital be located?

A 60-acre property at the corner of County Rd. 42 and the 9th Concession.

How was the site for the new hospital selected?

The new hospital site was selected in 2015 using a detailed process that was open, honest and fair.
See more information on the Site Selection Process.

Who will pay for the new hospital?

The province covers 90% of new hospital builds. The City of Windsor and County of Essex have already committed to covering the 10% local share. See more information on the Local Share page.

Why not take the money for this capital project and use it to address operational challenges?

  • Using one-time capital dollars for ongoing annual operating services is short-sighted. The location, provision, manner, and delivery of health care services are evolving and will continue to evolve. For our community, we will continue to fall behind this evolution by operating out of antiquated and insufficient facilities.
  • If we want to retain, enhance and be on the leading edge of healthcare delivery, we need the infrastructure to be at a level that allows us to achieve those goals.
  • Doing nothing is not an option - significant investments would be required to renovate and upgrade current facilities and leave us with the current inadequate footprint and landlocked properties.
  • This is not to say we will not continue to have operating challenges. However, by having a state-of-the-art facility to operate from our health care employees, we will have a better ability to address these challenges without physical infrastructure limiting our ability.

What will happen to the facilities at the existing acute care hospital sites?

  • Funding for the future use of both the Met and Ouellette campuses is included in the budget for this project. There will also be an alternative funded plan if necessary.
  • The Ouellette Campus will be redeveloped to support a number of programs and services including satellite emergency (urgent care) service, outpatient mental health, dialysis, diagnostic imaging, laboratory and pharmacy as well as some ambulatory care and outpatient surgical services.

What opportunities do members of the public have to participate in the project?

Visit the Together We Build engagement platform to learn more about ongoing planning for the new hospital, ask questions, and share ideas for the layout and design of 11 program and services areas in the new hospital.

There have been 80+ town hall discussions and other opportunities for individuals to ask questions and give feedback. Learn more about Community Engagement throughout the project.

How can I learn more about the project and opportunities to get involved?

Subscribe to our mailing list so we can keep you updated on any project related news including opportunities to get involved.