Local MP donates pay increase to hospital COVID-19 emergency funds

London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos announces federal funding for infrastructure projects in London and region, June 9, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos has taken his mandated pay increase and given it to area hospitals to help health-care workers in the fight against COVID-19.

The two-term politician has teamed up with three local business giants to donate a total of $40,000 to the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation’s health crisis fund and London Health Sciences Foundation’s COVID-19 response fund.

Fragiskatos decided to give his pay raise to the hospitals as a “small token of appreciation” to those on the frontline. He then approached 3M Canada, General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (GDLS), and Farhi Holdings Corporation to kick in funds as well.

“We are very grateful for the generous donation from all parties involved,” John MacFarlane, president and CEP of the London Health Sciences Foundation, said in a statement. “Donations like this one, show how the community has come together and is making a difference for those risking their lives every single day. The community support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been truly overwhelming, and makes me proud to say I live here.”

The London Health Sciences Foundation’s COVID-19 response fund was created in March as the London Health Sciences Centre began identifying what resources it needed to manage the pandemic. To date, nearly $1-million has been raised. Meanwhile, the Joseph’s Health Care Foundation’s health crisis fund, which was launched at the start of April, has brought in more than $250,000.

“The money has been put to immediate need at the front lines through the purchase of technology like iPads and Smartboards for patients and residents in our Veterans, Mental Health Care and Rehabilitation Programs at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute as well as residents at St. Joseph’s Mount Hope Centre for Long-term Care who are unable to see loved ones during this time,” said Michelle Campbell, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. “It has also fast-tracked two clinical drug trials aimed at combating COVID-19, with a third study about to be funded.”

Campbell added that they were also able to use a portion of the donations to buy snacks for hospital staff, who have been working tirelessly since the outbreak began.

In addition to cash donations, GDLS has donated 14 ventilators and 860 N95 masks to area hospitals. 3M Canada has also provided personal protective equipment to healthcare facilities and donated over $20-million worth of products, humanitarian aid, and research funding worldwide throughout the pandemic.