November 17, 2020 – VICTORIA, B.C. – A $2.65 million gift from Seaspan Victoria Shipyards and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation means critically ill patients across Vancouver Island are now one step closer to getting the care they need in a permanent, purpose-built High Acuity Unit (HAU) located at Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH).

The transformational donation will accelerate the work towards a future permanent HAU, which will boost critical care capacity at RJH by 73%. The permanent HAU will provide the Island’s critically ill with more monitoring and specialized care than available in acute care settings.

HAUs are an intermediate level of care between Acute Care units and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), for patients recovering from surgery, severe respiratory distress or those being treated for serious medical conditions like COVID-19. The level of care offered in an HAU is vital to managing hospitalization surges due to influenza, a pandemic response or mass casualty events by reducing pressure on emergency departments and ICUs.

“When we heard that Vancouver Island was the only health region in the province without this kind of unit we knew we had to act, especially considering the unprecedented impact COVID-19 is having in our communities,” said Joe O’Rourke, Vice President and General Manager of Seaspan Victoria Shipyards. “On behalf of over 3,100 employees in BC, including 1,000 locally, Seaspan is proud to be part of this lasting gift that will benefit the Victoria area now and for generations to come.”

“Giving back to the community is in our DNA – as companies, and as a family,” said Kyle Washington, Executive Chairman of Seaspan ULC. “Seaspan and our Foundation believe that critically ill members of our community should have access to the critical care they need. We are honoured to give back to this island community that we are so proud to be a part of.”

“The vision and generosity of this donation goes beyond bricks and mortar and life-saving equipment”, said Avery Brohman, Executive Director, Victoria Hospitals Foundation. “It speaks to our partners’ commitment to community and preserving the exceptional quality of life Vancouver Island is renowned for offering. Working alongside Seaspan, a company with such a giving heart and exceptional core values was an absolute joy, especially during a time where kindness and generosity is needed more than ever.”

Today’s announcement of this transformational donation brings VHF’s $7 million It’s Critical fundraising campaign to more than 65% percent completion. It represents the largest capital investment in critical care in Victoria by any funding partner in 20 years, and means the second phase capital investment part of the campaign is more than halfway complete. The first phase of the campaign reached its $1 million goal in October 2020 with donor-funded leading-edge critical care equipment supporting the opening of an interim HAU.

To learn more about It’s Critical, or to donate please call 250-519-1750 or visit


Additional Quotes:

“The permanent High Acuity Unit at Royal Jubilee will be a first for Island Health. It will support patients from all across the region who need specialized care and monitoring. Thank you to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation and community leaders like Seaspan and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, who are helping us expand critical care and improve the health of the community.”
– Leah Hollins, Chair, Island Health Board of Directors

“As a frontline caregiver, this is the very best support we can ask for at this time and for the future. The new permanent HAU is nearly doubling the critical care capacity at Royal Jubilee Hospital. The HAU enables our hospitals and teams to be more nimble in response to critical care admission surges we might see during influenza season, in response to COVID-19, or potential mass casualty events.”
– Dr. Omar Ahmad, Department Head, Emergency & Critical Care Medicine, Island Health

Additional Information & Assets:

Victoria Hospitals Foundation Media Contact:

Ashley Sperling
Associate Director, Marketing & Communications
Victoria Hospitals Foundation
250-886-2491 (mobile)

Secondary Media Contact:

Kelsey Moore
Marketing & Communications Officer
250-891-7500 (mobile)

About the Victoria Hospitals Foundation

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation works in partnership with Island Health to enable donations to every area of care at Royal Jubilee, Victoria General, and Gorge Road hospitals. As Island Health’s charitable partner, we raise donations for medical equipment, special projects, education and research. In 2019/20, over $9.3 million was received for our hospitals, including gifts from over 4,500 donors. Thanks to the generosity of our community, over 370 pieces of urgently needed medical equipment and special projects were funded to help these hospitals provide care to all 850,000+ residents of Vancouver Island. Since 1989, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation has raised more than $150 million to benefit our hospitals. For more information, call the Foundation at 250-519-1750 or visit

Seaspan & The Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation Media Contact:

Kris Neely
Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs

About Seaspan ULC

Seaspan ULC is an association of Canadian companies focused on the marine economy, including ship repair, shipbuilding, ship assist, coastal and deep-sea transportation, ferry services and fuel bunkering. Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyard is a leader in complex vessel repair and conversion in the Pacific Northwest. Strategically located and with a highly-skilled workforce, the company has a track record of delivering quality repair, refit and modernization projects for Canadian and international naval fleets, as well as for a variety of commercial vessels.

About The Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation

The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is the major philanthropic organization for The Washington Companies including Seaspan Victoria Shipyards as well as the Washington family. Funding for the Foundation comes primarily from personal contributions from the Washington family and annual contributions from the Washington Companies.