PRESS RELEASEOctober 1, 2019

Women’s College Hospital one of beneficiaries of The Slaight Family Foundation’s collective $30 million gift to improve the health of Canada’s seniors

  • October 1, 2019

TORONTO, October 1, 2019 – Following The Slaight Family Foundation’s historic announcement in June 2019 of $15 million to create the Allan Slaight Seniors Fund at the United Way Greater Toronto, today, on the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons, The Slaight Family Foundation has announced a further $15 million to 13 Toronto hospitals, including Women’s College Hospital (WCH), and four national organizations to establish The Slaight Family Foundation Seniors Initiative.

The Slaight Family Foundation Seniors Initiative is comprised of three components: the Community Component; the Hospital Component; and the National Component, all working together to develop and deliver new ways of supporting seniors to help them live healthier lives and remain at home longer.

As one of the 13 hospitals named within the Hospital Component, Women’s College Hospital will create vSeniors, a virtual hub for geriatric care in the Toronto Central LHIN. Women’s College Hospital will partner with long term care and community care agencies as well as Sinai Health System and St. Joseph’s Health Centre to integrate technology in the home and between service providers. This new care model is intended to improve services, access and outcomes for seniors, including the development of a unique model specifically designed to ensure equal and appropriate access to healthcare.

“As Canada’s first and only fully ambulatory hospital, and with a strategic focus on bringing virtual care into the mainstream, Women’s College Hospital is ideally positioned to lead organizational and system change,” says Heather McPherson, President and CEO, Women’s College Hospital. We believe that virtual care programs can help us close some of the urgent gaps in seniors’ care by functioning as support to community clinicians and family caregivers to help reduce emergency department visits and hospital admissions. We are grateful to the Slaight Family Foundation whose generosity is furthering our work in this important area.”

Through vSeniors, Women’s College Hospital will play an important role in helping to alleviate the crisis of hallway medicine, especially with respect to frail seniors, by leveraging its existing Acute Ambulatory Care Unit (AACU) and Virtual Ward to become the coordinating centre within the LHIN for geriatric e consultations and virtual visits. The ultimate goal is to manage patients as close to home as possible and avoid lengthy emergency department visits or inpatient hospitalizations.

The AACU is WCH’s innovative, one of-a-kind short stay medical unit that provides urgent assessment, rapid diagnostics and medical management for patients for a maximum of 18 hours. The Virtual Ward is a multidisciplinary team with expertise in managing complex patients in the home setting.

“Seniors are Canada’s fastest growing demographic, yet a very under-supported and vulnerable population. Finding new ways of assisting seniors, and enabling them to avoid unnecessary visits to the ER through virtual care, is essential to helping keep people healthier longer and in their own communities,” said Gary Slaight of The Slaight Family Foundation. “This gift is only possible due to our father Allan Slaight’s foresight, business acumen and philanthropic leadership. We hope these new models and programs will serve as change agents in moving seniors’ healthcare forward for years to come.”

“Canada’s rapidly growing aging population has driven the need to create solutions for improved care and ways for seniors to age in place,” says Jennifer Bernard, President and CEO of Women’s College Hospital Foundation. “We extend our deepest thanks to The Slaight Family Foundation for their vision and philanthropic investment to ensure our country’s seniors can live longer, healthier and more independent lives with dignity and within reach of expert care and support. The impact of the Slaight family’s gift is incredibly far-reaching, fostering important partnerships while profoundly touching so many lives.”



About The Slaight Family Foundation Seniors Initiative

The Slaight Family Foundation Seniors Initiative is comprised of three components: The Community Component, the Hospital Component and the National Component. The Community Component, called the Allan Slaight Seniors Fund, is administered through the United Way Greater Toronto. This program supports new programs and services at the community level, particularly those focused on the poor and frail elderly. The Hospital Component will create new models of care between hospitals and community partners to enable new and increased support to seniors. It is also aimed at reducing emergency visits of seniors to hospitals, providing needed support to caregivers and developing new models of health care using innovative technology to support seniors right in their own homes. The National Component will create new and expanded services from four national seniors’ organizations, allowing for new models and mechanisms for seniors’ support right across the country.

About Women’s College Hospital 

For more than 100 years Women’s College Hospital (WCH) has been developing revolutionary advances in healthcare. Today, WCH is a world leader in the health of women and Canada’s leading, academic ambulatory hospital. A champion of health equity, WCH advocates for the health of all women from diverse cultures and backgrounds and ensures their needs are reflected in the care they receive. It focuses on delivering innovative solutions that address Canada’s most pressing issues related to population health, patient experience and system costs. The WCH Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV) is developing new, scalable models of care that deliver improved outcomes for patients and sustainable solutions for the health system as a whole. 

For more information about how WCH is transforming patient care and leading health system solutions, visit

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