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Statement from the Mayor

Communities disappointed in defeated vote to reverse ambulance centralization in the Alberta Legislature today

March 15, 2021 7:43 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

For the health and safety of all Albertans, the Mayors of Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer, with support from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, express disappointment that the Legislative Assembly did not support a motion brought before them on Monday to reverse the decision of centralized emergency dispatch. The four communities continue to call on the Members of Legislative Assembly to push for an immediate pause, and to overturn the decision made by Alberta Health Services to consolidate EMS dispatch.

The motion stated:
Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the Government to take into consideration the views of the residents of Calgary, Lethbridge, and Red Deer, who are well served by a local, integrated model of emergency dispatch, and immediately take steps to reverse the decision to implement the centralization of the dispatch of emergency medical services.

Since the consolidation of EMS dispatch, each region has experienced significant issues, in varying degrees with the consolidated service.

“We strongly dispute the effectiveness of this consolidated system, and we are disappointed that the issue did not receive majority support in the Legislative Assembly today,” said Mayor Veer, City of Red Deer. “We are asking all Members of the Legislative Assembly to continue to do what is best for Albertans in the name of health and safety and hear the concerns of communities across our province.”

“This is a non-partisan issue. It is about recognizing the importance of community safety and preserving the effectiveness of emergency services. We are disappointed in the outcome of the decision today,” says Mayor Chris Spearman, City of Lethbridge.

“As we warned about prior to the consolidation taking place, the Government of Alberta simply was not ready to implement this sweeping change,” said Mayor Nenshi, City of Calgary. “The evidence for consolidation was never made publicly available, which should have been a massive red flag that they were unprepared to implement their plan. This is totally unacceptable, and is clearly a matter of life and death. I continue to call on the Government of Alberta to reverse this decision.” 

“While our municipality may not have been named in this motion due to our current court application, we continue to support the intent of the MLAs motion, and we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of our like-minded fellow municipalities,” said Mayor Scott, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Removing local, integrated EMS dispatch has hurt the health and safety of Albertans and impacted patient outcomes in all four regions. The Mayors are inviting all Albertans to call on the Premier to step-in and return emergency dispatch services to local jurisdictions, in the interest of all Albertans. Additionally, we again request that a third-party external review of the EMS dispatch system be conducted to provide recommendations to improve Alberta's emergency services.

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
The City of Red Deer

Corporate Communications
City of Lethbridge

Office of the Mayor
City of Calgary

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Media relations:

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