SUDBURY, ON – A Cochrane family, who for more than 70 years built up communities from Thunder Bay to Moosonee to New Liskeard, has made a historic investment in Northeastern Ontario’s healthcare. Marcel and Frances Labelle, pioneers of Canadian industry, announced a donation of $5 million towards HSN’s Innovation and Learning Centre.
Marcel established M. J. Labelle Co Ltd at the height of the Great Depression and World War II. The business would become one of the most successful civil engineering companies in Northern Ontario, constructing hundreds of miles of highways, building quarries and hauling more than three million cords of wood from the bush. The company employed hundreds of people across the north, bringing sewers, water mains and airstrips to dozens of northern communities through new construction projects.
“Marcel and Frances are proud to support the Innovation and Learning Centre which will ensure that northerners will be among the first to benefit from breakthrough techniques and treatment methods learned on site,” said Ehor Bobby, Director for the Marcel and Frances Labelle Foundation, as well as a long-time friend and associate. “They are particularly proud that doctors and other health care professionals will be trained here in the north.” With this gift, Marcel and Frances are hoping to inspire others to follow their lead and support healthcare in our region.
“In recognition of Marcel and Frances Labelle’s leadership, generosity, and dedication to learning, the HSN Board of Directors is proud to announce the naming of the Labelle Innovation and Learning Centre,” said HSN Board Chair Nicole Everest. She added this donation will help HSN in its mandate as the tertiary care centre for the region, while closing the gaps in the health care system in Northeastern Ontario. “This allows us to be even better positioned to recruit and retain some of the top talent in Canada, to care for the people of the north.”
The Labelle Innovation and Learning Centre, currently under construction, will be a 28,000 square foot world-class facility, which will house more than 2,000 learners from 70 post-secondary institutions each year. These future doctors, nurses, technicians and paramedics will train on some of the most medically advanced equipment before moving on to their professional careers.
“The Health Sciences North Foundation would like to thank Marcel and Frances Labelle for their transformational gift to healthcare in our region,” said Foundation Board Chair Dan Gray. “Because of their donation, which will go down in history as the largest private donation to any hospital in Northern Ontario, the Learners’ Centre fundraising campaign has reached 100% of its objective.”
For the last 10 years, a network of northern stakeholders, donors and community leaders, as well as HSN’s academic partners – Laurentian University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Cambrian College, and Collège Boréal – have been working to make the Innovation and Learning Centre a reality. HSN’s Simulation Lab is currently located on Regent Street at the Sudbury Outpatient Centre. The new Labelle Innovation and Learning Centre will include a new Simulation Lab, which will bring all learners together under one roof and closer to clinical activity.
There will be immediate benefits to patients as our current roster of medical staff will also train in the Simulation Lab, while learners will help provide care to patients as they learn. The Labelle Learning and Innovation Centre will reinforce HSN’s reputation as a leading academic health sciences centre, which will help in continuing to recruit high-end health professionals in the future.
With a total project cost of $26.3 million, the Labelle Innovation and Learning Centre is expected to open in the winter of 2020. The Ontario government announced in February 2018 a $21.6 million contribution to the project.