May 8th, 2019
Dear Premier Doug Ford and Honourable Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott,
I am writing this letter as City Councillor of Ward 6 in Barrie, Ontario, and as a retired advanced care paramedic from the County of Simcoe, in response to the latest report from the Provincial Government which states that shared ambulance grants are frozen at 2018 levels, and that any increase in service costs contained in municipal 2019 budgets will fall on the municipal taxpayers.
It alarms me greatly that tax rates of already financially struggling families will need to be increased to even maintain the level of care they receive from Ontario paramedic services. How are you not seeing that placing more financial strain on these families will only lead to greater stress levels in their homes, which in turn often results in negative health impacts, which will lead to more calls for paramedic services – straining an already inadequate number of paramedics, and cause more over-crowding of hospitals?
This will be a vicious and deadly cycle if you do not reverse your decision to amalgamate paramedic services from 59, to 10.
I do appreciate that you, Premier Ford, responded to my previous letter, and forwarded it on to the Honourable Minister Elliott, and I hope that you would be so kind as to answer these questions prior to forwarding this letter to anyone else:
1. If you do continue your plan to amalgamate the services, what will the public process be with respect to choosing/designing and implementing said services?
2. Can paramedic services appeal the government’s chosen model?
3. What data was used to determine that 10 services was ideal for the provision of paramedic care to Ontarian’s
And to the Honourable Minister Elliott, you have stated that you will work directly alongside municipal partners to engage in meaningful discussions about protecting and enhancing emergency support services.
1. Which services have you had discussions with to date?
I look forward to your responses and welcome any further discussion via email or in person at your convenience.
Natalie Harris
Ward 6 Barrie City Councillor
CC MPP Andrea Khanjin
MPP Doug Downey