Alberta Health Services is moving quickly to fill new EMS positions, primarily in the Calgary and Edmonton zones.

Additional 24-7 ambulance coverage will be deployed in both Okotoks and Chestermere by the end of August.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the strain on Alberta’s health-care services, and our emergency medical system is no exception. Our government is taking immediate steps to address this pressure by supporting AHS’ 10-point action plan, which is already getting resources to the front lines. Putting 19 new ambulances on the street ensures emergency services respond as quickly as possible whenever and wherever they are needed.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

“AHS EMS is continuing to experience the ‘new normal’ of 30 per cent increase in call volume, and we are taking tangible steps to address this. These positions will help ensure we have sustainable staffing in place immediately and over the longer term. We are grateful for the funding and support from Alberta Health, which has enabled this resourcing as an important component of the EMS 10-point plan.”

Darren Sandbeck, chief paramedic and senior provincial director, Alberta Health Services

AHS has secured nine new ambulances. Five will be deployed in Edmonton and four will be deployed in Calgary by the end of June. Ten more new ambulances will serve these areas, five in each city, by the end of September. 

Additionally, to increase the efficiency of patient transporting, five non-emergency transport vehicles will be added on evenings and weekends – four in the Edmonton Zone and one in the Calgary Zone – by the end of June.

New EMS positions

  • Forty new primary care paramedic positions, 20 each in both Calgary and Edmonton.
  • Sixteen new emergency medical responders responsible for inter-facility transfers, eight each in Calgary and Edmonton.
  • Two new advanced care paramedics and two new primary care paramedics specifically allotted for suburban-rural coverage in the Calgary Zone.
  • Forty temporary rover positions – staff who may fill in at various stations in a zone – in Calgary and Edmonton. In addition, the north, central and south zones will each have 10 positions extended until March 2023. These positions, originally hired in 2021, have assisted in managing short-notice staffing challenges, including illness and fatigue.

Quick facts

  • Budget 2022 provides EMS with a total operating budget of $587 million, a 12.2 per cent or about $64-million increase from Budget 2021.
  • AHS and Alberta Health continue to work with staff and community partners on the EMS 10-point plan and the larger EMS service plan. 
  • The Government of Alberta formed the Alberta EMS Provincial Advisory Committee in January to provide immediate and long-term recommendations to address the growing demands on EMS.
  • The EMS committee will submit their initial formal report to the Minister of Health by the end of May, and a final and more detailed report with long-term recommendations in July.