For the Record
We strive to provide accurate information to the public through a variety of mechanisms, including local media. On occasion, clarifications or corrections are required when factual errors occur in media stories or letters to the editor. We believe it is important that our citizens have access to the facts.
In support of an open and transparent government for citizens, and because we recognize the importance of an informed and educated population, For the Record has been created to directly address residents of Greater Sudbury with factual information about their municipal government.
We hope that the information and responses provided help our citizens in understanding the services we provide to them.
Responses are provided in the language in which the original information was issued.
March 11, 2017
Letter to the Editor
A recent news release issued by the local Canadian Union of Public Employees, the union which represents our local Paramedics, has indicated that the proposed Fire and Paramedic Optimization plan ignores Paramedics.
The proposed plan, in fact, has concluded that Paramedic Services currently operates at an optimized level, and has done so naturally since 2000, supported by provincially legislated requirements. Also this plan further improves response times, adds two new paramedic posts, improves workplace conditions, and brings the headquarters to a central location, saving valuable vehicle deployment time. These investments not only improve our ability to serve the community but they would also ensure we are able to meet the needs of our growing diversified workforce well into the future.
Paramedic Services has a history of meaningful employee engagement through the Paramedic Advisory Committee and ongoing employee engagement initiatives. This engagement has, and will continue to result in optimization strategies to better meet the needs of our residents and the staff who serve them.
Over the past 16 plus years Paramedic Services has seen progressive increases in staff and vehicles. This reflects changes in workload and an increased scope of work during that period. Paramedic services has, in other words, adapted to the evolving needs of Greater Sudbury residents.
Vehicle service hours have increased by 38% to meet increases in calls. More recently, in July 2016, City Council approved 32 additional vehicle hours and two full-time staff to meet this call demand.
Since 2000, Paramedic Services has increased staff by 66%. This staff has experienced significant expansion of their medical skills. Specifically, Primary Care Paramedics have increased their scope of practice with nine new medications and 10 new medical acts. On the same token, Advanced Care Paramedics deliver six new medications and 10 new medical acts.
Council has set one of the most aggressive legislated Response Time Performance Plans in the province. When the 2015 results were compared against all other services in the province, our Paramedic Service was in the top eight.
This means we have one of the best performing Paramedic Services in the province, something I am very proud of as Chief of Fire and Paramedic Services. I am thankful that we have such a dedicated, engaged workforce who passionately believes in the safety and well-being of our citizens.
Consideration of future call increases based on the changing needs of our community are always part of our planning forParamedic Services and, I assure you, have continued to be explored as part of the proposed optimization plan. There are several opportunities at the provincial and regional level that, once implemented, will reduce Paramedic call volumes.
We continue to work with key healthcare stakeholders to develop and implement a Northeastern Non-Urgent Transportation System. This system will also result in fewer calls for Paramedic Services and increase service capacity.
Due to a rapidly changing environment, Paramedic Services continues to evaluate community needs on an annual basis and when required, enhancements are brought before Council through the budget process.
There have been references to increased call volumes for Paramedics and decreased call volumes for Fire Services. Fire Services protects buildings, infrastructure, reputation, economy and people. Paramedics on the other hand, protect people. Call volumes are not reflective of the needs of both services. The services provided by each are vastly different. It is incorrect to assume that any single data point can be used to make conclusions about staffing needs for either service.
As the proposed plan was developed, consultations were made with all unions, Paramedic, Volunteer Firefighter and Career Firefighter. All interested groups had, and continue to have, opportunities for offering feedback.
I want to assure our residents that this plan was not built for any particular staff group. This plan was built for you; to bring your fire and paramedic service to a level of safety and protection that you expect, and that, frankly, you deserve from the fire and paramedic protection services in your community.
I hope residents will attend one of our public information sessions to learn more about how the Proposed Optimization plan affects all staff of the Community Safety department, but more importantly, how it affects you.
Chief, Fire and Paramedic Services & General Manager of Community Safety
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
This letter is in response to the editorial dated March 1, 2017 and entitled, “Arena decision looms for Sudbury Council.”
The editorial states that “two prominent developers […] indicated they would privately fund and run a new arena…”
The City has not received and is not aware of any offers to privately fund and run an arena/event centre. While we know there has been a great deal of enthusiasm shown by our community, it has been too early to receive this information as we have not identified what specifications are required for Greater Sudbury. This will be brought to Council on March 7, 2017. The presentations made to Council at the Large Projects meeting of November 27, 2015 are available online.
City Council has received several reports throughout 2016 about an event centre. A full report from the subject matter expert is on the agenda for next week's Council meeting, outlining recommendations on what a new building could look like. Staff is recommending an approach that leads to an RFP process which would allow all interested parties to bid, ensuring that the community gets the best value for its money and understands completely what responsibilities the city would be taking on prior to a final decision.
Chief Administrative Officer