Paramedic Services
2019 – 2020 Operations Report


Paramedics in the Regional Municipality of Durham are determinedly working to keep pace with community demand in the pre-hospital care setting. Workplace pressures continue to grow as evidenced by increasing call volumes and the front-line ambulance/ staffing shortages required to meet growing service requests. The following report intends to make critical data associated with ambulance operations in Durham more transparent to Regional Council. CUPE Local 1764 and its members appreciate your time in reviewing this operations update and are committed to cooperatively addressing these service challenges moving forward.

Research Highlights:

  • Ambulance Call Volume: Durham Region Paramedics responded to 86,408 emergency calls last year. Call volume has risen on average, 7% per year over the last 5 years and has increased a total of 42% since the year 2014.
  • Staffing & Vehicle Hours: Over the same time period (2014 – 2019), Total Vehicle Hours of Service have increased 7% and Total Paramedic Hours of Service have increased 12%. A 30% shortfall when compared to the increased work load placed on front-line paramedics.
  • Ambulance Coverage: On a recurring basis, coverage levels in the Region drop to 1 or zero available ambulance unit to respond to community requests for service. A concerning situation whereby 683,600 residents over 2,523 square kilometers are left without an available paramedic transport unit (at times of peak stress, this can last 7 minutes). Routinely, the service operates with 2 to 6 available ambulances. This trend has increased 363% since last year alone.
  • Ambulance Enhancements: The service was capable of deploying 23.2 transport ambulances in the year 2014. Fast forward to January 2020 – the service is capable of deploying 25.8 transport units. Vehicles adequately increased to reflect call volume growth should see a minimum of 32.8 transport units in the community – the fleet is currently 7 transport units short of this target.
  • Paramedic Injury & Illness (WSIB): Paramedic absence as a result of WSIB claims cost the Region 1.29 million dollars in 2019 and 2,575 lost days of work. This can be primarily attributed to mental health related illness. Costs associated with WSIB claims are anticipated to continue increasing along with lost days of work and paramedic staffing shortages.It is our position that to ensure appropriate action takes place, our elected members need to be made aware of evolving paramedic workplace conditions (in the form of this education piece). The Local has reviewed a number of operational recommendations that could be discussed to help mitigate such challenges and look forward to collaboratively addressing the current state of Regional Paramedic Services.


February 5, 2020

Executive Summary and Operational Analysis ReportClick Here