Grand River and St. Mary’s plan to join together as a single hospital organization

24 April 2024

Kitchener, ON – April 24, 2024 – Building on a long history of partnership and collaboration, Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital have agreed to explore a voluntary merger into a single new hospital corporation. The proposed new organization would operate existing hospital sites and services, while continuing to move forward with their joint Building the Future of Care Together capital redevelopment project. 

The hospital boards independently voted in favour of creating a new, single hospital organization to care for our communities which would replace both current hospital organizations. This change has also been supported by Board of Directors at St. Joseph’s Health System Corporation, of which St. Mary’s is a division. The hospitals will now undertake a due diligence process regarding the details of the planned, voluntary merger in consultation with the Ontario Ministry of Health.   

“Our goal in joining together is to provide our communities with faster, improved access to modern, fully integrated care,” says St. Mary’s Board of Trustees Chair Tim Rollins. “While we initially intended to maintain separate governance structures, it has become increasingly clear that leveraging our combined strengths as a single organization will put us in the best position to navigate the changing health care landscape.” 

“Our hospitals have incredible strengths and we are excited to learn from each other, bringing together the best of both hospital cultures to provide an exceptional patient experience,” says Grand River Board Chair Sandra Hanmer. “This decision is about meeting the needs of our rapidly growing communities to provide better care today, and for generations to come. This is an evolution of our partnership as we work together to build our future hospital system.”  

The planned merger builds on a decades-long history of partnership and collaboration between the hospital organizations that has included a joint medical staff, shared clinical support services, collaborative COVID-19 responses, a shared health information system, and joint fundraising campaigns. 

In consultations last fall we received input from patients, team members, physicians and community members urging us to consider the benefits of merging to make it easier for patients to access care. Building on these discussions, we will continue to engage with hospital teams, partners, donors, patients and the public to gather input on the due diligence process and how we can best serve our communities. 

If approved by the hospital and corporation boards, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Health, transition to the new organization is expected to take about one year, with the launch anticipated in spring 2025. A decision on the name and identity of the new organization will be made later in the planning process, based on consultation and input with our teams and communities. Regular updates on progress will be provided over the months ahead.

As we explore this proposed merger together, the capital redevelopment project – Building the Future of Care Together – to build a new acute care hospital in Kitchener-Waterloo and modernize two existing hospital sites (the Kitchener-Waterloo site and Freeport site) – will continue to move forward. The current hospital sites will remain operational, with no immediate changes or impacts on patient care as a result of the integration. 

St. Joseph’s Health System will lead an engagement process to explore future opportunities for the St. Mary’s site to support the needs of the community with patients, community members, municipal planning bodies, academic, research and innovation partners, and health and social care partners. 

“St. Joseph’s Health System is excited to work with partners to adapt, innovate and continue to support the community, guided by our legacy of mission-based care through compassionate care, faith and discovery,” says St. Joseph’s Health System Corporation Board Chair Roger Fulton. “Together, we are responding to the community’s call to revitalize services, advocate for change and transform the health care system.” 


Victoria Ott 
Director, Marketing & Communications 
Grand River Hospital 

Dayna Giorgio
Director, Strategic Communications 
St. Mary’s General Hospital 

Nicole Vaillancourt 
Senior Communications and Engagement Officer 
St. Joseph’s Health System 

Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital have been partners for over 40 years sharing services such as labs, a health information system, pharmacy, a 690-person medical staff, and leadership in KW4 OHT. 

Between our two organizations, we offer a regional cardiac centre, a regional cancer centre, a stroke centre, a chest program, a renal program, and specialized ophthalmology. We accommodate 335,000 patient visits, 101,110 emergency department visits, 31,570 surgical procedures, and 4,130 births. Together, we provide 82% of patient care services in Waterloo Region. 

We are supported by our foundation partners – the Grand River Hospital Foundation and St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation – in Building the Future of Care Together.