June 10, 2021 | Ottawa, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada

The Government of Canada is working with partners to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the variants of concern in Canada. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, for some people in Canada, crowded housing conditions and high costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, putting themselves, their families and communities at risk through no fault of their own.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $731,810 in funding to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to operate safe voluntary isolation sites in Barrie and the surrounding communities. These sites help those who have COVID-19, or have been exposed to it, access safe isolation accommodations to keep themselves and their community safe.

Voluntary isolation sites reduce the risks of spreading the virus among household contacts in situations where individuals are faced with crowded housing and do not have an alternative. These sites are one of the rapid response tools established to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks.

The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program directly supports cities, municipalities and health regions that are at-risk of COVID-19 community transmission. Sites selected under the Program provide an accessible location where individuals can safely self-isolate for the required period. Local public health officials determine eligible individuals who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis to keep them and their household contacts safe during an outbreak in their community.


“We must keep working together to keep each other safe. Today’s announcement is ensuring people in Barrie have tools available to protect themselves and their loved ones. This funding for Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites will help Barrie’s Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to stop the spread of COVID-19 and variants of concern.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“We welcome this funding from the Government of Canada to implement the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program in Simcoe Muskoka. Having safe and accessible locations available for individuals in our communities who are not able to safely self-isolate will help to reduce the transmission of COVID. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is pleased to work with several community partners to provide accommodation, services and support to members of our community that require this assistance during their time of isolation.” 

Anita Dubeau
Chair, Board of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Quick Facts

  • $731,810 is being provided to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for the operation of three sites totalling 30 rooms in Barrie and the surrounding region.
  • As part of Canada’s rapid response tools against the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is providing a total of $100 million in funding to municipalities and health regions to establish Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites across the country.
  • To date, the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites program is providing approximately $89.2 million to support projects in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, which totals up to 2,185 rooms in Ontario, 300 spaces in Saskatchewan and 60 rooms in Nova Scotia.
  • Since the first site opened in Toronto in September 2020, approximately 6,150 individuals have sought access and support through one of the federally-funded voluntary isolation sites across the country.
  • Regular monitoring and reporting of safe voluntary isolation sites is conducted in coordination with local public health officials.
  • The sharing of best practices is encouraged among the selected isolation sites to improve how the sites operate and how services are delivered to the individuals who access them.
  • To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are advised to follow local public health measures, avoid places that do not have controls in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms.

Associated Links


Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

COVID-19 public enquiries: 1-833-784-4397

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