GBGH Chair reflects on promising future of community’s healthcare

Man standing outside

Tim Kastelic – chair, Board of Directors, Georgian Bay General Hospital


June 4, 2024 – Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) has reached significant milestones over the past three years which have set up the hospital for a promising future ahead. In addition to adding echocardiograms, a prenatal clinic, full pulmonary function testing, and significantly increasing surgical procedures (up to 170 per cent of pre-COVID levels), the hospital has been approved for its first MRI, with service starting in early 2025.

GBGH has also submitted proposals to bring a comprehensive acute mental health program to an underserviced community. GBGH’s Board of Directors and Management team continue working to advance priorities in line with its strategy of providing excellent, personalized care to the community. Through the plans set in place, GBGH looks forward to even more significant progress in meeting the community’s needs for many years ahead.

“GBGH serves a unique population, including the Indigenous, Francophone, and seasonal communities within our area,” says Tim Kastelic, chair, GBGH Board of Directors. “Additionally, we have a seniors’ population, often with complex health needs, a shortage of family physicians and a high incidence of mental health challenges in comparison to the provincial average. Over the past three years, one of the largest determining factors in planning the hospital’s future is ensuring GBGH can grow its services to address backlogs and long delays while aligning with the anticipated needs of the community.”

Due to population growth and the age of the building (opened in 1976), GBGH has submitted a proposal for a new hospital to be completed in the 2030s. There are significant challenges with a building as old as GBGH, including aging infrastructure requiring constant reinvestment to extend its lifespan and a lack of appropriate physical space to meet the current needs of patients, as well as the significant growth in demand as a result of population aging and individuals moving to the area.

“Patient volumes in the 1970s, when GBGH was designed, were very different than today and they’ll be drastically different over the next two decades,” says Kastelic. “We project the future hospital will need to have more than 240 beds, which is a doubling of our current bed capacity. There are other new services and capital projects being planned that will be transformative for GBGH and the patients served by this excellent hospital, and I look forward to seeing the incredible progress GBGH is poised to make.”

In addition to a future hospital and with a much shorter timeline, GBGH is about to begin construction on an expansion to house the hospital’s first MRI.  It also continues to work actively with partners and the provincial government to advance our proposed acute mental health program that will require a large extension on the existing building.

“A mental health program at GBGH cannot come soon enough for our community and our region,” adds Kastelic. “Over the past four years, GBGH’s Emergency department has seen a 300 per cent increase in mental health-related visits. With a shortage of beds in our region, it is not uncommon for patients to wait more than 100 hours for an appropriate placement to become available.”

Currently, almost half of mental health patients come to GBGH with a concurrent physical diagnosis and require medical stabilization before they can be transferred to a mental health bed. Having acute inpatient mental health beds at GBGH will also assist patients with equitable access to person-centred care as they will be able to receive mental health and medical treatment simultaneously.

The proposed Mental Health expansion and new hospital will also bring approximately 700 new, well-paying jobs to the community, and provide a significant boost to the local economy.

As Kastelic’s three-year term as Board chair comes to a close, he is most encouraged by the team of leaders, staff, professional staff and volunteers, including his colleagues on the Board of Directors, who dedicate their careers, time and expertise to GBGH.

“We would not have been able to accomplish what our hospital has without the support of GBGH’s dedicated team,” says Kastelic. “They are what makes GBGH a special place in which patients can count on an excellent, personalized experience because they are focused on caring for their community of family, friends and neighbours.”

“Another key contributor to our success is the hospital Foundation who are tirelessly committed to fundraising – making our growth plans a reality,” adds Kastelic. “Finally, I’d like to recognize Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, our local Mayors, indigenous leaders and other elected officials for their ongoing support and advancement of GBGH’s plans for the benefit of the communities they serve.”

The hospital’s Board of Directors is planning a seamless transition as it welcomes a new chair who will be announced after its upcoming June Annual General Meeting. Kastelic will continue to serve on the Board of Directors as past chair for the next three years. GBGH’s annual report will also be available in late June on the hospital’s website –



Jennifer Moore

Director, Communications & Community Relations

Georgian Bay General Hospital

705-526-1300 ext. 5177