VCH redacts details on financials, corporate structure

Trellis Agreement

Much of the redacted information in the documents released to Coast Reporter under the freedom of information (FOI) request to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) contained details of financial arrangements and the corporate structure of the Silverstone Care Centre.

The details were withheld under sections 17 and 21 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), because the information could “harm the financial or economic interests of a public body or the government of British Columbia” or would reveal commercial and financial information of third parties.

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The Project Development Agreement (PDA) explicitly spells out that VCH will not be funding any of the construction and development costs of the project. Public money will only begin flowing to Silverstone Care Centre once the first resident placed through VCH moves in, which becomes the “effective date” of the Services Agreement (SA).

The emails released by VCH show efforts to negotiate “pre-occupancy” funding to cover costs associated with the start-up of Silverstone. In a Feb. 2, 2016 email to VCH, Trellis president Mary McDougall said, “There are significant costs of recruitment and start-up. … We are requesting a budget of 28 days per-diem funding (excluding user fee) for this purpose.”

The SA doesn’t mention pre-occupancy funding, but does include a “deferred occupancy payment” that could be paid if Trellis achieves occupancy within 31 calendar days of an agreed target date. Under that clause VCH can, “at its sole and absolute discretion, pay the service provider an amount for achieving timely occupancy.” Details of the calculation were blacked out. (There is also a clause in the PDA allowing VCH to impose a financial penalty for late occupancy.)

The details of the per diem fee VCH will pay on top of the client payments – the amount paid directly by residents or their families – have been blacked out as well.  The email records show the per diem was negotiated as part of a “bundle deal” that included the facilities on the North Shore and in Richmond that Trellis will also build and operate.

The only significant dollar figures that were not redacted were estimates of the total annual client contributions. VCH puts that at $2,179,620.31 and the relevant clause in the SA notes that “VCH either will top up funding for any shortfall in client contributions compared to the estimated total … or will claw back any additional revenues above this amount.” (Good Samaritan, which operates Christenson Village, was paid $5.5 million for services to VCH in 2015-16.)

Charts outlining the corporate structure of the Silverstone Care Centre were also blacked out, citing section 21 of FIPPA. However, other information in the documents and details provided by BC Registry Services indicate the Silverstone Care Centre Limited Partnership has as its general partner Silverstone Care Centre Ltd., which was incorporated Feb. 29, 2016 with Mary and Dan McDougall as directors and the Vancouver law firm Fasken-Martineau as a registered office. 

In a proponent profile emailed to VCH, Trellis Seniors Services is described as the “mind and management” of Silverstone Care Centre, with another company – Castle Seniors Properties Ltd. – as “lead equity investor.” Mary and Dan McDougall are directors of Castle as well. According to the profile, Castle has “direct and indirect ownership in existing residential care facilities.”

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