On Dec. 2, 2015, Toronto East General Hospital and the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation Boards of Directors announced the historic $50-million gift from Myron and Berna Garron in memory of their son Michael to transform healthcare delivery in East Toronto.
The unprecedented donation – the largest of its kind to a Canadian community hospital – was paired with the legal renaming of the hospital to Toronto East Health Network to reflect the numerous partnerships and work being done in and outside of hospital walls, and recognizing the transformational gift by calling the main hospital site Michael Garron Hospital.
about our name change
The following describes the process, including stakeholder consultation and compliance with legal requirements that was followed by the Toronto East General Hospital as it considered and eventually decided to:
- change the legal name of the Hospital to the Toronto East Health Network;
- change the business name of the hospital site at 825 Coxwell to Michael Garron Hospital;
- make Michael Garron Hospital the anchor site of the Toronto East Health Network; and
- through these changes, encourage and facilitate better co-ordination and integration of the delivery of acute, tertiary, primary, and community health care services to residents in the community, including Thorncliffe, Flemingdon and East York.
The Hospital is a corporation governed by a board of directors (Board) comprised of 15 elected voting directors and seven ex-officio directors, two of whom have voting rights. The duty of each director is to act and make decisions in the best interests of the hospital as a whole, after considering the views and interests of the hospital’s many stakeholders (patients, families, community residents, administrative and professional staff, primary and community health care providers, government and government agencies, funders and donors).
The Hospital also has members who have responsibilities under the law. Certain decisions of the Board do not come into effect unless confirmed by the members, including decisions requiring a special resolution that fundamentally impact the Hospital, such as amendments to the Hospital’s by-laws and changing the Hospital’s legal name.
In 2012, the Board established a policy that provided for naming rights in recognition of a gift of at least $25-million dollars. This policy was considered and approved by the Board when it was launching a fundraising campaign in support of redevelopment of the Hospital. The Hospital Foundation engaged in significant fundraising efforts on the basis that the Hospital would consider granting naming rights to a donor for a minimum $25-million gift.
The Garron family gift was initially proposed in late 2014. The Board was asked to consider the matter of granting naming rights in recognition of the proposed gift. The Board’s final decision on the name change was made in November 2015, following nearly a year of consultation and consideration of the issues, including the degree of support for the name changes. In this regard, as part of its decision-making process, the Board sought out and carefully considered the views of multiple stakeholders as well as the Hospital’s need for new capital funds to enable it to continue to offer an excellent standard of care to its patients.
Early in 2015, the Board was briefed on the proposed gift. The Hospital Foundation Board and the Hospital Board met to establish a plan to ensure broad consultation and the identification and exploration of key considerations. Also in early 2015, the Hospital conducted an internal consultation which included briefing and obtaining input from senior administrative leaders and a medical reference group of 40 physician leaders.
The Garron family had made donations to the Hospital in the past. Nonetheless, the Hospital conducted routine “know your donor” due diligence prior to discussing the terms of what became the $50M gift with the Garron family’s representatives.
In the spring of 2015, the Hospital consulted with Government of Ontario and community leaders and retained consultants with expertise in polling and communications to conduct a survey of public opinion and provide the Hospital with advice on how best to communicate with stakeholders about the proposed name changes. Research was also conducted on major gifts made to hospitals across Canada to determine the position of other hospitals on naming rights.
The telephone survey, which was conducted July 2015, was designed to assess attitudes in the community regarding hospital name changes in recognition of major gifts. While not specific to the proposed gift or the Hospital, this consultation process provided the Board with valuable insight in that only a small percentage (about 15 per cent) of those polled felt that hospitals should never grant naming rights in honour of donors. The balance of those polled were almost equally split between those who believe that it is only proper to recognize significant gifts by naming in honour of donors and those who believe that naming in honour of donors should only occur in rare occasions and for truly exceptional gifts.
The Hospital continued its dialogue with provincial government officials during the process to ensure that they were kept informed. Other initiatives involved the creation of “Questions and Answers” as a means of explaining the process and considerations relating to the proposed name changes to the media and others. Outreach was made to members of the community with long-standing ties to the Hospital and to health services partners and donors to determine their views on the name changes in recognition of the proposed gift. The response was largely positive. Some of those who were not supportive when first consulted became so in time in recognition of the enormity of the gift (largest to date to a community hospital in Canada) and the benefits it promised to patient care.
In February 2015, the Hospital engaged external legal counsel to obtain advice on:
- the process, including legal requirements that would need to be met for the Hospital to change its name;
- recommended terms and conditions of a donor agreement with the Garron family; and
- recommended terms and conditions of an agreement between the Hospital and the Foundation relating to the name changes.
External legal counsel developed and negotiated the two agreements for the Hospital, drafted associated corporate documents required to effect the name changes, and provided advice as questions arose in the course of the Hospital’s consideration and decision-making about the name changes so as to ensure the Hospital was in compliance with applicable laws.
At its November 2015 meeting, the Board approved two important matters regarding the Hospital’s name:
- First, having decided that the change was more reflective of the Hospital’s broad role in delivering hospital as well as community services, and in partnering with other care providers to improve the delivery of healthcare to its patients, the Board passed a resolution to change the legal name of the Hospital from Michael Garron Hospital to Toronto East Health Network.
- Second, in recognition of the $50-million pledge made by the Garron family, in accordance with the 2012 Board-approved policy and the Foundation’s representations made during its fundraising campaign in support of the redevelopment of the Hospital, the Board passed a resolution to change the business name of the main hospital site at 825 Coxwell Avenue to the Michael Garron Hospital.
At their November 25, 2015 meeting, the members confirmed the first matter by a special resolution. Under corporate law, member approval to register the business name “Michael Garron Hospital” is not required.
The gift was publicly announced on December 2, 2015. The business name registration (for Michael Garron Hospital) was made that same day. The legal name change took effect on April 1, 2016, corresponding with the Hospital’s new funding year. The Hospital provided notice to the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of the name changes, in accordance with policies and guidelines that include the LHIN Liaison Branch’s Guidelines on Change of a Hospital’s Name or of a Hospital’s Site Name.