ESPANOLA—The Northern Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) has requested an Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) delegation to meet with Minister of Health (MOH), Christine Elliott to discuss the modernization of paramedic services.
“This is an issue across the province,” stated Fern Dominelli, executive director of NOSDA, when contacted by The Expositor last week. “The government was talking about modernization two years ago (prior to the pandemic) with, for instance, reducing the number of health units and paramedic services. They appear to be bringing the idea forward again.”
In the fall of 2019, the Ontario government introduced Jim Pine as the advisor who will lead the MOH engagement with municipal governments and the public health and emergency health services sectors to strengthen and modernize public health and emergency health services.
A NOSDA release notes that the MOH has clearly indicated their intent to proceed with the modernizing of emergency health services once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Mr. Dominelli said that paramedic services in Northern Ontario provides coverage for vast geographic areas, and many paramedic stations in the North are single vehicle stations staffed with one crew and in many cases operating on a call back system in the evenings, when the next closest ambulance may be more than one hour away.
“NOSDA is asking the Minister of Health to work closely with NOSDA members as it proceeds with the modernizing of emergency health services,” continued Mr. Dominelli.
NOSDA is also asking that any modernization of emergency health services ensures that the 144 municipalities across Northern Ontario have a say in the provision of services within their catchment area would not increase the current municipal share of emergency health services.