Township fighting back against Ottawa’s paramedic hiring freeze

BARRY’S BAY – Madawaska Valley council is supporting McNab/Braeside’s resolution, which claims the paramedic hiring freeze in the City of Ottawa’s is affecting the response times of ambulance services in Renfrew County.

The issue was brought up at the March 7 regular council meeting in Barry’s Bay.

Mayor Kim Love said she has had some discussion on this issue at the county level. When ambulances from Renfrew County transfer to Ottawa hospital, they are often forced to take calls within the City of Ottawa. That’s because there’s a provincial law that states units from the county’s paramedic service must respond to emergency calls if they are the closest to the situation.

Local paramedics essentially get “stuck” in Ottawa, which results in longer wait times here in the county. When paramedics finally return, they either are clocking in overtime or forced to find a replacement as their shift has ended.

“So it’s increasing the costs here,” Love said. “It’s reducing the service here.”

What’s worse, Love said that up until this past year, the county was reimbursed by the City of Ottawa for its calls. 

Get your March 9, 2016 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.