Court of Queen's Bench grants interim injunction to province in EMS dispatch dispute

·1 min read
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.
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.

(CBC)

A judge has granted an interim injunction that stops a northern Alberta municipality from withdrawing from the provincial ambulance dispatch service.

Justice Kent Davidson heard a request today from the province seeking a court order to require the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to resume transferring medical emergency calls to Alberta Health Services.

Lawyers for the government suggested that the northern municipality was operating illegally by refusing to send 911 calls to provincial dispatch.

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

A lawyer representing Wood Buffalo said it was in the public interest for the municipality to keep handling emergency medical calls through its own dispatch centre, which already handles fire calls.

The interim injunction, which takes effect at noon Saturday, is to be in place until an application for a permanent order can be heard in March.

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.