By Chad Ingram
Haliburton County will certainly be paying more for the operation of ambulances as a result of the provincial government’s plan to consolidate ambulance services the county’s chief administrative officer says.
As part of the Ford government’s budget tabled in mid-April the province revealed it has plans to merge more than 50 land ambulance services throughout Ontario into 10 services. It is not yet clear what those consolidations might look like.
During an April 24 Haliburton County council meeting chief administrative officer Mike Rutter told councillors that the mergers would mean lessened local control and increased costs.
“Depending on who we’re lumped with . . . one of the bad things is we’ll just get a bill” Rutter said adding there would be reduced control over where ambulances were stationed etc.
Currently the county also has relatively low ambulance costs. Land ambulances are funded 50 per cent by the province and 50 per cent by municipalities. The annual per household cost of the ambulance service in Haliburton County is $238 per household which is much lower than similar communities.
A report from the county’s auditor shows the per household cost for ambulances in Hastings is $748 and $953 in Frontenac County.
“Our cost for land ambulance is going to go up substantially” Rutter told councillors.