“I am pleased to have received the final report and recommendations from the EMS provincial advisory committee.

“Emergency medical services (EMS) have been under strain in Alberta and across Canada due to the sharp increase in 911 call volumes. That’s why I created this committee of EMS partners to bring forward solutions that can have a real impact on improving the system for Albertans.

“I would like to thank all committee members and the co-chairs for their valuable work over the past nine months and for putting together this report to strengthen the system. I would also like to thank all the paramedics and EMS staff, as well the EMS providers and municipal partners for sharing innovative ideas and solutions with the committee.

“Alberta’s government is taking the necessary time to study the final report’s recommendations and develop the next steps. That said, we are not waiting to make real improvements to the system. Work is underway on multiple fronts to improve EMS coverage across the province. That includes implementing the committee’s initial recommendations that I approved last May to introduce efficiencies and pilot new solutions.

“Alberta Health Services is also making rapid progress on its 10-point plan to add EMS capacity and ensure the most critical patients receive immediate care. More than 200 new EMS employees were hired, including 167 paramedics, since the start of this year, and 19 additional ambulances are now on the roads in Edmonton and Calgary.

“I’m pleased to share that more suburban ambulances are staying in their home communities since launching the AHS Metro Response Plan in March. The average number of weekly calls for suburban and rural ambulances called into the Calgary Zone has dropped to about 130 from about 400 before this plan. In Edmonton, there were about 400 outside of community responses per week and now there are about 290.

“Alberta’s government remains committed to making sure EMS is responsive to the needs of Alberta communities. We are making progress towards addressing the current system challenges, but we know more needs to be done. That’s why the work to ease EMS pressures will continue to be a priority for the province.”