Toronto Paramedic Services
Understanding its operating capacity and financing
by Rafi Chaudhury
Toronto Paramedic Services (TPS) comprise a critical piece of the City’s emergency services, along with the police and fire department.
According to the Operating Budget Notes for 2018, TPS is responsible for "...providing integrated, mobile, paramedic-based health care and transportation of patients with health emergencies as well as pre-hospital and out-of- hospital medical care to the special needs of vulnerable communities."
Changes in Toronto demographics, namely the growth in the total city population as well as increased numbers of aging residents, have led to a 64% increase in emergency transport cases since 2005, rising from 141,409 in that year to an estimated 231,440 in 2017.
The Historical Picture
Trends since 2011
The chart below shows the total budgeted expenditures for TPS from 2011 onwards. Since 2015, more granular data has become available, with budgeted expenses displayed across operating categories such as Community Paramedicine, Emergency Medical Care and Major Event Mass Casualty Care.
Click the individual bars from 2015 to 2018 to see how the expenses were divided. Emergency Medical Care comprises an average of 89% of budgeted expenditures each year.
Click or tap any bar from 2015 - 2018 to view the drilldown categories
Click the tabs below to learn about TPS Functional Areas
The Community Paramedicine & Emergency Call Mitigation division works to provide primary medical care and referrals to community-based care centres. Such referrals support aging-at-home care, injury prevention efforts and is intended to reduce the overall volume of 911 calls.
This division is also responsible for providing first-responder education for citizens, to allow them to provide supporting services for paramedics. In 2018, it is estimated that the department will offer 800 Emergency Medical Training Courses, up from 729 courses that were actually delivered in 2016.
The division also provides training courses in using Automated External Defribillators (AED). In 2018, it is estimated that 1,575 AEDs will be registered, up from 1,547 in 2016.
The Emergency Medical Dispatch & Preliminary Care service is the initial access point to City of Toronto's Paramedic Services. This service responds to victims of illness or injury through its Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CACC).
The key performance metrics for this division are:
- # Minutes to process emergency calls (life-threatening): In 2018, TPS has set a target of processing 90% of calls in a 2:53 minute timeframe
- # of Emergency Calls Processed:TPS is expected to process 389,862 calls in 2018. This is up from 360,449 calls processed in 2016. The number of calls is projected to increase by 4% annually.
The Emergency Medical Care service provides emergency and preventative care for Toronto residents through pre-hospital emergency care, inter-facility patient transport services and mass casualty care. Its budget is the largest of all TPS programs; $184.3 million is budgeted for this division in 2018.
The EMC service comprises three operating areas:
- Pre-Hospital Emergency Care
- Critical Care Transport: In 2018, TPS estimates 240,700 emergency transports will be required, an average of 659 per day. This is a 7.5% increase over the 222,538 patient transports that occurred in 2016.
- City Emergency & Major Event Mass Casualty Care
Detailed information available in TPS Annual Reports
An excellent source of information about the TPS performance metrics and strategic objectives is their annual reports. Check out the links below to access the full reports.