The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care (MOHLTC) has released a discussion paper exploring the viability of allowing fire services to provide paramedic care. This proposal, which was initially made by the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA), could potential lead to an increase the costs municipalities already pay for fire services, and was quickly condemned by AMO:
Municipal governments are deeply concerned about the direct and significant impact of the proposal on municipal emergency services, both financially and operationally. We will read the MOHLTC discussion paper carefully, but to date, there has been no evidence or cost-benefit analysis seen that shows such an approach would improve patient outcomes. Given the lack of evidence, we don’t know why this proposal is now a provincial priority, especially as municipalities would bear all the costs, labour challenges, and risks. Fire services are 100% funded by municipalities and only an elected Municipal Council has the authority to determine the level and type of fire protection services needed by its community. We are also concerned that if any Municipal Council agrees to this proposal it would be replicated throughout Ontario by the current interest arbitration system. Municipal governments strongly prefer to work with the Province to improve and modernize our cost-shared land ambulance/EMS services. Specifically, municipalities have been asking the Province for years now to make improvements to land ambulance dispatch that would directly improve patient outcomes.
AMCTO will continue to monitor and provide updates on this file as new developments emerge. You can find the discussion paper here.