October 2020 News Archive

Subscribe RSS Feed Email

Statement from the Mayor

Mayors united in calling on Premier Kenney to stop EMS Dispatch consolidation

October 20, 2020 3:38 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

For the health and safety of all Albertans, the Mayors of Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo call on Premier Kenney and those in his Cabinet and Caucus to overturn the decision made by the Minister of Health to consolidate EMS dispatch.

We know our current system works. Municipal dispatch numbers prove that we are faster than the current centralized AHS dispatch centres. We have continually requested information from AHS to prove a consolidated EMS system will be more efficient, provide better patient outcomes and save money, yet no rationale has been given.
We are asking all Albertans, whether residents in our regions or not, to join us in calling on the Premier to reverse this reckless and dangerous decision, that threatens patient outcomes for all Albertans in medical emergencies where seconds count.

“The decision by Minister Shandro to consolidate ambulance dispatch unnecessarily puts the lives of Red Deerians, Central Albertans and all Albertans at risk, as anyone needing emergency ambulance care will experience delays in critical life and death emergencies. We appeal to the Premier to reverse the irresponsible decision made by the Minister of Health. Our current municipal integrated emergency dispatch model continues to outperform AHS and dispatches an ambulance 18-21 seconds faster than the AHS dispatch centres. These critical seconds are imperative for patient outcomes.”– Mayor Veer, The City of Red Deer

“Our municipalities have extensive experience providing EMS dispatch that results in excellent patient outcomes. After just 16 months in office, Minister Shandro has decided to throw all of that away without any consultation with municipalities. His inability to provide rationale or data prior to delivering his letter to us on Friday, confirms this is a short sighted and reckless decision. Together, the Mayors of all four regions call on Cabinet, Caucus and Premier Kenney to review the fact and make the best decision for the health and safety of Albertans.” – Mayor Spearman, City of Lethbridge.

“We were deeply disappointed with Minister Shandro’s letter late Friday afternoon announcing that he was moving forward with this decision. Our four communities have come together to provide an incredible amount of evidence and data and have worked in good faith with Minister Shandro to come to a resolution that supports the best patient outcomes, not only for our communities, but for all Albertans. Despite the evidence, Minister Shandro and Alberta Health Services are moving forward with a reckless plan that is more than a decade old.” – Mayor Nenshi, City of Calgary

Minister Shandro’s decision to consolidate EMS dispatch services directly threatens the health and safety of Wood Buffalo residents. The rationale to move forward with consolidation demonstrates a decision based on ideology, not intellect. Our region is larger than the province of Nova Scotia and we consistently dispatch an ambulance faster than AHS -- we have the data to prove it. Minister Shandro stated that there will be no impacts to our Mutual-aid agreements with our Oil Sands industry partners. He also stated his commitment to improving dispatch of ambulance to our remote Rural and First Nation communities. We need to understand precisely how AHS will guarantee that these crucial agreements remain intact, and not impacted by consolidation. We are urgently requesting the attention of Premier Kenney and the rest of Cabinet and Caucus on this matter.” – Mayor Scott, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 

The Mayors are inviting all members of the UCP caucus to a meeting on Thursday to provide data, background information and personal stories that demonstrate the effectiveness of the current municipal dispatch system.

Response and Fact Check: Minister of Health’s October 16 letter on Ambulance Dispatch Consolidation (pdf)

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
The City of Red Deer

Corporate Communications
City of Lethbridge

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

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

- end -