Dean's Platform

Calgary EMS

I received the email below from a very concerned person about her mother who is living in Calgary. Sadly this is not the only email I have received on this subject.

Hello Dean! My mom is interested in knowing what your thoughts and policies are with regard to seniors as she has major concerns about the way ambulances are being deployed.

What is happening?

Our cities paramedics are absolutely exhausted and overrun. In conjunction with the additional challenges the pandemic has brought, the way EMS is structured currently is NOT working. Our city only recently moved to a central deployment command strategy and this has lengthened reaction times – not shortened them. 

Our present Mayor brought this to the attention of the premier months ago without any great impact. EMS are constantly in “red alert” meaning there are no ambulances available to respond to emergencies. It is fact that EMS are regularly working overtime to ensure calls are responded to and as a result staff rarely have down time between calls.

 This results in high levels of burnout. The reality of the situation is that if a Calgarian calls an ambulance they may have to wait over 40 minutes before a unit arrives from the other side of the city or a nearby rural community. Our city needs to address this problem now and we need more ambulances on our streets.

It is my opinion that the primary function of any municipal government is to protect the lives and property of all Calgary citizens. Our present municipal government has been failing in this for some years.

Council should be reaching out to our provincial government to have extra ambulances sent to Calgary with a view to easing the mental strain for our present paramedics. Failure to address this situation will definitely result in unnecessary deaths within our communities. Our present Mayor and council cannot keep relying upon the fire department to cover when it comes to 911 calls for EMS. This situation has been going on for far too long and things need to change. This council needs to become proactive and address the situation.

Please visit the link below which is a document I personally gathered on the fire department in 2019 and took me 6 months to complete. It was issued to our Mayor and every council member, my MLA , the premier and to my MP. A copy was sent to the prime minister on April 23 2020 just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. It clearly states that all levels of government should take appropriate action to prepare for emergency services to become overwhelmed. It stated that they should be cross training our military on secondary fire appliances and bringing medical units up to speed to assist EMS and hospital nurses, doctors etc. This process is known as military aid to the civil powers (MACP) and we do not have this in Canada YET. The link below will take you to that document.


No levels of government responded to my submitted document and look at the situation we are currently in. I have noticed in Toronto the government is just starting to deploy troops.

What should be happening?

How are we going to make that happen?

If you elect me as your Mayor, I will be having closed door meetings with a number of high ranking city EMS managers to obtain a clear picture facing our city. During my campaign period should anyone with EMS like a chat (off the record) in person or email me then my door is open. I really do need a full overview of what is happening in the trenches. I do have a number of good friends who are EMS so have quite a deep understanding of the current situation. EMS is high on my priority list regarding staffing, unit availability and pay. I will also be looking at the mental health initiatives that EMS command has in place. If I say I am going to do something about the lack of EMS in our city then I will do something about it.

The province holds the cards when it comes to matters regarding EMS, but with sound reasoning and having all the facts, it may help sway the premiers and our health ministers stance on our EMS situation. All of our seniors should not have to worry about EMS not turning up at their homes in a time of need.

I fully support and empathize with our EMS and understand the mental trauma they are exposed to on a daily basis. They need our support today not 6 months from now. I was, for a period of time during my military carrier, a combat medic and was also exposed to mental trauma. This is one of my driving motivations in providing municipal government support to our EMS. I will be relentless in my efforts until this issue is resolved.