Hamilton paramedics to see 23 per cent funding increase

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The increase is tied to a recent uptick in service demand. Photo credit: Twitter/HPS Paramedics


Hamilton Paramedic Service is receiving an additional $6.7 million from the City of Hamilton as part of the 2023 operating budget. That translates to a 23 per cent increase compared to 2022.

A city media release on April 17 announced their plan for the funding.

The increase in funds is tied to an increase in paramedic demand. 

City paramedics reportedly responded to 98,114 emergencies in 2022, up from 90,892 in 2021. That translates to a 7.8 per cent increase and was an average of 269 emergencies per day in 2022.

The increase in emergencies is largely attributed to both the growing city population and the fact that the population is aging.

Hamilton’s population has increased 6 per cent between 2016 and 2021. 

Approximately 25 per cent of Hamiltonians are 60 years or older according to 2021 census data. Those 60 or older accounted for 23.7 per cent of the population in 2016.

The city release lists the details of the new investment.

The key announcement is that the city will be adding 35 more full-time paramedics which will staff seven additional ambulances during peak volume periods.

Other plans include:

  • Broadening the paramedic scope of practice, enabling primary care paramedics to help patients more immediately without having to wait for an advanced care paramedic or having to wait to be transported to the emergency department before receiving medication;
  • Further developing programs to enable paramedics to treat some patients on scene, refer patients to other care providers, or transport patients to alternative destinations, reducing pressures on hospital emergency departments;
  • Enhancing Mobile Integrated Health to provide care to residents in their homes, reducing pressure on healthcare system;
  • Enhancing IT programs
  • Creating a Special Event Bike Team

City Council has also approved the continuation of the Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Services and Community Mental Health Promotion Programs with municipal funds.

While municipalities run paramedic services, the Province of Ontario provides grant funding annually to cover 50 per cent of the cost of direct land ambulance service delivery.

But like other city positions, a presentation to Council from Hamilton Paramedic Service in 2022 noted issues with staff retention, attraction and retirements.

The City currently lists various vacancies for part-time primary care paramedics. Salary is listed at $37.83-$40.26 per hour. 

It remains unclear when the city will begin hiring the 35 new full-time paramedics.

It should be noted that all new hires for the paramedic service are required to provide proof of having received two COVID vaccine doses.

Currently, 84.44 per cent of vaccine-eligible Hamiltonians have received two doses of the COVID vaccine. 

That leaves a significant percentage of the Hamilton population who would be automatically excluded from consideration for a job with Hamilton Paramedic Service. 

Statistics Canada lists approximately 342,000 Hamiltonians of working age. Roughly estimated, 15 per cent of that number means that some 51,300 Hamiltonians would be ineligible to work as a paramedic.


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