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UCP government says municipality acting illegally in EMS dispatch dispute

Last Updated Feb 12, 2021 at 12:12 pm MDT

Stock image of an ambulance. (CREDIT: iStock user MattGush)

FORT MCMURRAY – Lawyers for the Alberta government said a northern municipality is operating illegally by withdrawing from a provincial ambulance dispatch service.

The province is seeking a court order that would require the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) to resume transferring 911 calls to Alberta Health Services (AHS) medical emergency calls.

The municipality, which includes Fort McMurray, stopped transferring calls at noon Thursday after its council decided earlier in the week that the new service is putting patients at risk due to delays and confusion.

WATCH: Wood Buffalo opts out of EMS dispatch

A lawyer representing Wood Buffalo said it’s in the public interest for the municipality to keep handling emergency medical calls.

He added that it already runs a dispatch centre for the fire department under separate provincial legislation.

The province consolidated emergency medical dispatch services to save money, and recently forced Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Wood Buffalo to make the change despite their objections.