Demand for 911 services to increase dramatically

York Region expects 911 calls will increase by 119 per cent by 2031 and says it will need $62.3 million to cover the cost of 305 additional frontline paramedics, as well as other staff and other program operating costs from 2023 to 2031.

The Region’s contribution to that amount is about $31 million, assuming the provincial land ambulance grants continue to fund half of operational costs, according to the Paramedic Services Master Plan 2021 – 2031, a long-term plan recently approved by Regional Council.

The Region also needs $27.2 million to fund capital expenses, including new stations, ambulances and special response vehicles but says costs may be reduced “considerably” if the provincial government implements initiatives identified in the plan, including modernizing the 911 dispatch process.

“Paramedics are an integral part of the health-care system and a key partner in achieving York Region’s commitment to strong, caring and safe communities,” says York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “This plan helps to proactively ensure we have the resources and capacity to continue providing essential care across the Region’s growing communities, while still maintaining fiscal responsibility.”

The plan was developed with experts in emergency services and replaces the York Region Emergency Medical Services 10-Year Resources and Facilities Master Plan approved by Regional Council in September 2012. The new plan identifies resources needed to respond to future demands, meet legislative and Council-approved response time targets, and ensure equitable response times regardless of which local municipality the 911 call originates.

“The plan highlights the importance of innovation and partnerships needed for continued financial sustainability. We know proactive, non-emergency services help keep residents living well, improve their quality of life and reduce pressure on the health care system,” says City of Vaughan Regional Councillor and Chair of Community and Health Services Gino Rosati. “Adoption of the plan confirms our collective approach to move forward with the required resources to serve our residents and improve access to paramedic services.”

The Region will evaluate 911 call demand, resource capacity and population growth each year to assess ongoing resource needs. The plan is expected to be implement early next year with approval of the York Region budget. Visit york.ca/paramedics for more information on paramedic services.

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