After two years of organizing and preparing Birchwood Terrace to transition into Wiigwas Elders and Senior Care, it has finally happened. 

On October 1, 2021, Wiigwas Elders and Senior Care officially purchased Birchwood Terrace from Southbridge and became the newest not-for-profit Long-Term Care facility in Ontario.  

Wiigwas Elders and Senior Care is a new non-profit organization that was created by Kenora Chiefs Advisory.  

Wiigwas has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Long-Term Care to pilot a new management model converting for-profit care to not-for-profit.  

“Today is a great day, and will pave a path forward for change and for exciting things to come, we are so grateful to have this opportunity to make sure everyone gets the appropriate and holistic care they need. Our elders had this vision 10 years ago, and we couldn’t have got to where we are without the support of our elders,” said Chief Lorraine Cobiness, Board President for Wiigwas and Kenora Chiefs Advisory.  

“This is great news for Kenora and all the surrounding communities, and I’m grateful for the First Nation Leadership and our team that has made this possible,” added Executive Director Joe Barnes of Kenora Chiefs Advisory. 

Lee-Anne Moore has transitioned from Kenora Chiefs Advisory to be the Executive Director at Wiigwas, she said “This has been a humbling journey, from the beginning discussions around the table and now watching the Elder’s vision come to life. I am so honoured to be part of this new model of care, as we take on the responsibility of running the Long-Term care home to the highest standards.” 

“Wiigwas Elder and Senior Care is an All-Nation’s Long-Term Care Home, we value and honour all faiths and cultures of each and every resident and employee,” she added.  

In November 2020, the Government of Ontario announced that WESC had been allocated an additional 64 spaces and received approval to build a new facility to be located in Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation that will have a strong focus on being a holistic space that focuses on culturally appropriate care. 

This allocation will enable the build of a new 160-bed long-term care home that includes the redevelopment of the current 96 spaces in WESC. 

“It is so vital to create a safe space that offers culturally appropriate care for not only our people but everyone in Kenora, and by moving ahead on this project we can ensure major change in the system happens,” said Chief Chris Skead of Wauzhushk Onigum Nation.