The United Counties of Prescott and Russell’s (UCPR) Community Paramedic Program will continue for another two years, with full funding from the Ontario government.
The program began in 2020 and was instrumental in using paramedics to provide COVID-19 testing and other routine health checks for people unable to leave their homes, or where other care providers were not available.
At the February 23 UCPR Council meeting, Director of Emergency Services Marc-André Périard presented a report stating the Ministry of Long-Term Care announced in November 2021 that the Prescott-Russell Community Paramedic Program would be funded 100 per cent. The funding totals $2,500,000 until the end of the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
According to Périard’s report, the funding includes capital purchases which were not originally part of the 2022 UCPR budget. These purchases include emergency response vehicles, defibrillators, and other specialized equipment.
“A lot of people have benefitted from this program,” remarked Alfred and Plantagenet Mayor Stéphane Sarrazin, adding that a considerable amount of work had gone into implementing the Community Paramedic Program.
Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux asked if the capital purchases would be subjected to the UCPR’s asset management plan, which oversees how materials and equipment owned by the counties are maintained or replaced whenever the need arises.
Périard said there are no long-term asset management costs of concern for the UCPR because off the required materials for the Community Paramedic Program are funded by the Ministry of Long-Term Care at no additional cost to the counties.
The motion to authorize the purchases required for the Community Paramedic Program was moved by Sarrazin and seconded by East Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Kirby.