Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 11:05 a.m.
Ambulance debt: counties losing patience with Ottawa
Tempers are starting to fray at the counties council table over Ottawa’s refusal to pay its ambulance debt to Prescott-Russell.
“They don’t want to co-operate then don’t answer the phone,” said Warden Robert Kirby, during the January 23 counties council session. Warden Kirby expressed the growing frustration at the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) office, over the City of Ottawa’s refusal to pay an outstanding debt of more than $1.5 million for using UCPR ambulance units to handle some of its municipal and rural area emergency calls.
Part of the cause of the problem is provincial policy dealing with ambulance dispatch. The situation used to be covered under municipal mutual aid agreements, similar to those that allow fire departments to send backup assistance units and crews to areas outside of their normal jurisdiction. The municipality benefitting from the mutual aid then reimbursed its neighbours.