Joel Harden MPP / Député, Ottawa Centre

Government of Ontario

NDP: Chronic under-funding of emergency services puts lives in danger

Published on March 4, 2020

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPPs Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre), the Official Opposition’s Municipal Affairs critic, and Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre) warned Doug Ford Wednesday that he risks putting lives in danger with his government’s cuts to critical emergency services.

A new report published today by CUPE Ontario reveals that pressure on frontline paramedics is reaching a breaking point with more ‘code zero’ events where Ontarians call 911 in need of urgent medical care only to be left waiting with no ambulances available to help.

“Because of years of frozen health budgets under the Liberal government, there are more and more hospital offload delays while emergency calls skyrocket,” said Burch.

“Instead of providing the necessary funding to fix Ontario’s emergency services, the Ford government is busy looking for ways to cut. Can the premier tell us why he is plowing ahead with cutting and merging Ontario’s emergency services?,” asked Burch during Wednesday’s question period at the Ontario legislature.

Harden pointed to the dangerous situation this week in Ottawa when 19 ambulance crews were unable to respond to calls because they were stuck waiting for Ottawa General Hospital to admit patients.

“This puts Ontarians at risk. Increasingly, when they call 911 the risk is very real there will be no ambulances available,” said Harden.

“Ontario paramedics are doing their best despite chronic and dangerous underfunding. Will the premier tell frontline paramedic staff who are here today why he thinks it’s acceptable to put patients at risk like this?”

The report shows that increasing call volumes and delays at overcrowded hospitals are causing increasing shortages of ambulances in municipalities across Ontario.