December 2020 News Archive

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Municipalities formally offer to pay to keep EMS dispatch local

December 15, 2020 3:25 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

The City of Red Deer, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the City of Lethbridge have each formally offered the Provincial Government to pay to keep EMS dispatch local in their respective communities.

The municipalities each receive funding annually from Alberta Health Services (AHS) to operate local ambulance dispatch through integrated municipal dispatch centres. By offering to pay for the services, municipalities would retain current emergency ambulance dispatch services at no cost to the Province.

The Government of Alberta’s decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch is planned to take effect on January 12, 2021 despite repeated requests by the municipalities to the Provincial Government to reverse this decision. At this time, there has been no official response from Premier Kenney on the offers to pay, or the formal request for the Premier to overturn AHS. 

“The decision by the Provincial Government to consolidate ambulance dispatch will, without a doubt, mean the degradation of emergency patient care for citizens in Red Deer and Central Alberta. We know there are people alive today in Red Deer because FireMedics responded before an ambulance in a life and death emergency medical call. The City of Red Deer is prepared to fund ambulance dispatch locally in an effort to protect the health and safety of Red Deerians and Central Albertans in emergency circumstances. The Provincial Government’s decision to remove this local service is driven by supposed cost savings, so we are prepared to pay for the service in the interest of public safety.” – Mayor Veer, The City of Red Deer  

“We understand that the Provincial Government is dealing with a public health emergency, and that managing the pandemic is a major focus at this time. We still need to ensure that this important issue does not fall to the sidelines. We have expressed to the Premier, our offer to pay for this service – stopping at nothing to keep EMS Dispatch within the region. Enabling us to pay for this service at $660,000 annually, will mitigate the threat that consolidation poses to our residents, oil sands operators, First Nations and Métis communities.” - Mayor Scott, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

“We feel strongly that our integrated Fire and EMS System provides the best service to our residents, as efficiently as possible. So strongly, that we are willing to invest municipal funding to maintain local EMS dispatch and preserve our fully integrated system. The loss of EMS Dispatch in Lethbridge would come at a much higher cost to our community. We would need to invest millions to alter our system in order to maintain the current level of service, losing much of the efficiencies we have today. In a very challenging economic time, these are not easy decisions. I hope this commitment sends yet another strong message to the Provincial Government about how vitally important this is to our City.” - Mayor Spearman, City of Lethbridge 

The City of Calgary continues to advocate along with the municipalities of Red Deer, Lethbridge, and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and all four Mayors remain resolute in their position that the Province should continue to operate the four satellite dispatch centres.

Attached are copies of the formal requests offering to pay, made by each Mayor to the Premier.

December 15, 2020 - Letters to the Premier (pdf)

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
The City of Red Deer

Corporate Communications
City of Lethbridge

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 
Media relations: 

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