A $143-million investment from Budget 2021 will start work on the 58-bed intensive care unit for newborns at Foothills Medical Centre and support four other new, priority health capital projects.

“This is great news for the smallest, newest, most fragile Albertans who need specialty care before or after they’re born. Calgary continues to grow and needs improved access to programs like the ones at Foothills. I’m pleased Budget 2021 supports priority capital projects that will boost health services for babies, moms and families, as well as many others as they face health challenges.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Taxpayers are spending at unprecedented levels, supporting lives and livelihoods through health capital projects. Through these five new priority health capital projects, we’re announcing hundreds of good jobs and a long-term investment in the health of Albertans.”

Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure

Foothills Medical Centre’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is one of the busiest in the country, admitting three to four newborns every day with acute medical needs. The NICU is often 90 per cent full – and sometimes over capacity – since women with high-risk pregnancies, from Red Deer south to the U.S. border, all go to the Foothills for obstetrical deliveries and support.

The $23-million investment from Budget 2021, plus a significant contribution from the Calgary Health Foundation, will begin the work to add 19 more NICU beds to better support growing families.

“Government’s funding announcement for these capital projects will touch the lives of Albertans across the province. This investment in improving the quality of care in Alberta will pay dividends for years to come, starting with our most vulnerable – premature newborns – where the need for expanded services is great. The partnership between government, AHS, philanthropic organizations like Calgary Health Foundation and the community reflects our mutual commitment to offering high-quality care where and when it’s needed.”

Dr. Ted Braun, vice-president and medical director, Clinical Operations, Alberta Health Services

“Canada’s busiest neonatal intensive care unit is here in Calgary at Foothills Medical Centre, supporting our most vulnerable infants. Built 25 years ago and oversubscribed due to Alberta’s higher than average preterm birth rate, it’s the focus of our $66-million Newborns Need campaign. Through this collaborative investment with the Government of Alberta, our community will ensure newborns have the best possible outcomes by redeveloping and expanding the Foothills NICU, funding family-centred care initiatives and investing in research to prevent preterm births.”

Mike Meldrum, president and CEO, Calgary Health Foundation

“In January 2020, Foothills NICU staff gave us a family and they became our family. It’s incredible what they do to help tiny human beings, like our daughter, Gianna, survive.”

Molly and Patrick Wilding, parents to Gianna, born at 23 weeks and six days gestation, weighing one pound six ounces

Other New Priority Health Capital Projects

  • With more than $18 million from Budget 2021, work will begin on a new cyclotron and southern Alberta’s first radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Calgary. Radiopharmaceuticals are an important class of drugs that are used to treat diseases, such as cancer, and to help in diagnostic imaging for a range of medical conditions.
  • A $59-million project at Calgary’s Rockyview General Hospital will redevelop and relocate the intensive care unit and coronary care unit to one joint expanded space with 25 beds, up from the current 17 beds. Additional support from the Calgary Health Foundation will expand Rockyview’s gastrointestinal clinic by adding two endoscopy suites.
  • La Crete in northern Alberta will get a new $35-million community health centre with more space to provide primary and ambulatory care, maternal health care to moms and families, mental health and diagnostic services.
  • Another $8 million will demolish the old High Prairie Health Complex and prepare the land for future development.

Budget 2021 protects lives and livelihoods with a historic investment in health care while laying the foundation for economic growth. Through the prudent management of tax dollars, Alberta’s government can continue to invest in priority areas to ensure Alberta emerges from COVID-19 stronger than ever.

Quick facts

  • Budget 2021 provides a three-year, $3.4-billion commitment for health-related capital projects and programs, including:
    • $2.2 billion for health infrastructure projects, including continued investment to complete ongoing projects such as the Calgary Cancer Centre, the Gene Zwozdesky Centre at Norwood and the new Edmonton hospital, as well as $143 million for the five new projects.
    • $766 million for Alberta Health Services self-financed capital, for parkades, equipment and other capital requirements.
    • $343 million for capital maintenance and renewal of existing facilities.
    • $90 million for health department IT projects.