History of the Foundation

The Foundation was founded in 1972 and has been serving the Chinese and Asian community of Montreal.

The Montreal Chinese Hospital Foundation was established in 1972 to preserve the unique character of the Hospital and to support worthy projects which are beyond the basic patient-care services provided by the Quebec Department of Health and Social Services. The Foundation has the mandate to receive, invest and distribute endowment and privately collected funds for the benefit of the Montreal Chinese Hospital.

The Montreal Chinese Hospital was founded during the influenza epidemia in 1918 for the Chinese Community. Mother Marie du Saint-Esprit, founder of the first Canadian Missionary Institute whose order was involved with the Montreal Chinese Community’s welfare since 1913, opened the first shelter on Clark Street. This temporary hospital remained in operation until the flu epidemic subsided in 1919.

After the epidemia subsided, the need for hospital services in the Chinese Community remained and on March 20, 1920, the Chinese Community acquired a synagogue at 112 de la Gauchetière Street West. The Hospital was reopened and for 45 years, the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception carried on this work, relying mainly on the generosity of the Community for financial assistance.

In 1962, the City of Montreal Public Health authorities declared the building unfit for a hospital. The Montreal Chinese Hospital had to face a decision: To perish or to rebuild elsewhere.

On July 12, 1963, a new Corporation made of Chinese and non-Chinese citizens was formed by Dr. David T.W. Lin, a surgeon practicing at the Royal Victoria Hospital, with the objective of building and operating a non-profit, non-sectarian hospital to serve the Chinese Community.

A public campaign for $1 M. was launched in 1964 under the leadership of Dr. David T.W. Lin for the construction of a new hospital to be located at 7500 Saint-Denis Street in Montreal. On September 22, 1965, the new hospital, with a 65-bed capacity was officially opened by the Quebec Minister of Health.

The first patients were largely from the old hospital in Chinatown and were assigned to the convalescent or long-term care section. Later in the year, the Obstetrical Department consisting of 8 beds was opened with the most modern and up-to-date equipment available. At the same time, the newborn nursery opened its doors with 19 bassinets and 2 incubators.

In 1966, the Montreal Chinese Hospital became a member of the Quebec Hospital Association and saw thereafter its operating expenditures covered by the Quebec Hospital Insurance Board (RAMQ). In 1967, it received its first official accreditation from the Canadian Council on Hospital Accreditation which has been renewed ever since.

In 1969, the Obstetrical Department was closed in order to reorganize the third floor. On January 12, 1970, a 17-bed unit was opened to accommodate convalescent and long-term care patients thus giving the hospital its 64-bed capacity. The Outpatient Department which opened at the onset has continued to grow and now offers a variety of services.

In 1971, as required by Bill 65, the hospital became public and three (3) separate organizations were set up as follows:

The Montreal Chinese Hospital Corporation
The Montreal Chinese Hospital Centre
The Montreal Chinese Hospital Foundation.

Since all the Communities-supported Hospitals (i.e. the Chinese Hospital, the Polish Institute, the Santa Cabrini Hospital, the Jewish Hospital and the Anglophone Hospital)

which were all built with money raised in their own Community, this is a form of expropriation without compensation. In order to protect their property interest, all of them have converted the organization that owns the hospitals to a Hospital Corporation. The operating organization responsible for the administration of the hospital is called the Hospital Centre. The government allowed a representation of three (3) members from the Corporation on the Board of Directors of the Hospital Centre.

During 1972, each of these hospitals created a Foundation whose objective was to raise funds for the hospitals to meet the expenses not provided or inadequately provided by the government such as equipment and renovations.

Prior to 1971, the Montreal Chinese Hospital was responsible for the operation of the hospital, was owning the building and was raising funds for its needs and since 1971, these funds were divided to the Hospital Centre, the Corporation and the Foundation respectively.

During the 1980’s, owing to the growing need of the senior population (the hospitals were converted meanwhile from a General Hospital to a Long-Term Care Hospital as per the government’s directives.

Dr. David T.W. Lin has endeavoured an expansion of the St-Denis site so that the Sung Pai Pavilion was added to the St-Denis site. In order to convince the government to approve the project, a legal pledge of $1 M. was given by the Foundation to the government for the construction of the Sung Pai Pavilion.

Eventually, this was never paid out by the Foundation as the government had absorbed the construction cost and had converted the expenses to a long-term debt for the Corporation guaranteed by the government (both the principal and the interest were paid by the government).

In the late 1980’s, there was a need for further expansion and it was suggested by the government that the hospital should move back to Chinatown. A capital campaign was launched and $2,6 M. were collected. The government paid for the rest of the construction and in 1999, the hospital moved to 189 Viger Avenue in Chinatown.

On our capital campaign donor board, there is a special section commemorating all the donors who have financially supported the St-Denis building. Without these generous donors, the new Viger Avenue building would not exist.

In 2005, the Health and Social Services Minister has published a ministerial orientation for the elderly people losing their autonomy whereby a new approach was taken.

Starting in 2009-2010, the elderly people requiring less than three (3) hours of daily care will no longer be admitted to the long-term care facilities. A total of 2,100 beds (including 700 long-term care beds in short-term hospitals) will be abolished. As a replacement, the Minister foresees home care and care by private organizations (e.g. family type residences and intermediate resources). These intermediate resources will be subsidized by the government.

With the arrival of the baby boom population reaching the senior age group around 2009, the government will have to construct hundreds of long-term care facilities in order to meet the needs of the elderly people losing their autonomy.