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Statement from the Mayor

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) joins Alberta Mayors to call on Premier Kenney to stop EMS Dispatch consolidation

November 10, 2020 1:14 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) has joined the Mayors of Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to call on Premier Kenney to overturn the decision made by the Minister of Health to consolidate EMS dispatch.

The decision to consolidate EMS dispatch is irresponsible, dangerous, and unnecessarily threatens the health and safety for all Albertans who need emergency ambulance care.

The current system works. Municipal dispatch numbers prove to be faster than the current centralized AHS dispatch centres, they are more efficient and deliver excellent patient outcomes. We call on the Premier to step in and keep emergency dispatch services local.

“As municipalities are the level of government closest to their citizens, AUMA favours the development of local solutions to meet local needs. Meaningful municipal engagement is critical to ensuring that changes to provincial policies and programs are successfully implemented, and AUMA is extremely troubled that once again, a decision was made around consolidating 911 dispatch services without consulting the affected municipalities. As more Alberta municipalities begin to examine integrated dispatch and public safety models, where fire, police, rescue, and emergency medical professionals exist in a single service group, we respectfully request that the province enable municipal autonomy, especially when it results in improved and cost-effective service delivery.” - President Morishita, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association

“AUMA’s call to keep ambulance dispatch local demonstrates that this issue affects every Albertan. The lives of all Albertans are at risk, and we implore our provincial leaders to reverse the decision to consolidate emergency ambulance dispatch and keep dispatch local. Alberta Health Services is relying on a plan developed more than 11 years ago, and many of the communities who were previously switched to AHS consolidated dispatch immediately experienced a degradation of emergency services in critical life and death emergencies.” – Mayor Veer, The City of Red Deer

“This decision not only impacts our four cities but the surrounding communities that are also dispatched through our centres. We are pleased to see our partners at AUMA standing together with us to fight for our common goal of excellent patient outcomes, delivered in the most efficient way possible. We know we can achieve that by keeping our integrated EMS dispatch.” - Mayor Spearman, City of Lethbridge 

“Since EMS dispatch consolidation began in 2009, we have heard from many Alberta municipalities expressing their concerns about the impact that decision has had in their communities. We are thankful to have the support and experience of the AUMA as we continue to push back against this decision with the Provincial Government.” - Mayor Nenshi, City of Calgary

“I applaud the AUMA and welcome them to this fight against a decision that directly threatens the health and safety of Albertans. The fact that our municipal partners are standing with us is of extreme importance as we now take our case directly to the Premier. This consolidation was overturned four previous times by four previous health ministers for a good reason. Now it’s time for this government to stand up for us and reverse this decision.” - Mayor Scott, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
 
For more information, please contact:

Michael Hogan
Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
780-989-7413

Corporate Communications
The City of Red Deer

Corporate Communications
City of Lethbridge
403-360-0984

Adam Noble-Johnson
Office of the Mayor, City of Calgary
403.333.2272 

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 
Media relations: media@rmwb.ca 

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