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October 8, 2009
Toronto Emergency Medical Services releases findings on Alexander Street call and confirms actions taken on recommendations.
This afternoon, Chief Bruce Farr released the findings and recommendations from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) investigation into the response time of Toronto EMS to a call to Alexander Street on June 25th, 2009.

The investigation found that there was a preventable delay in the ambulance response time to the call. The delay was caused primarily by a series of decisions that were made by Toronto EMS staff that did not follow existing EMS policy and procedures.

Prior to releasing the findings at the press conference, Chief Farr met with Mr. Hearst’s family to express his sympathy and to discuss the findings of the report. “My deepest sympathies are extended to Mr. Hearst’s family on behalf of the entire Toronto EMS team. I want to assure the family and all Torontonians that we have learned from what transpired and will take action to strengthen existing policies and procedures so that this situation can be prevented in the future,” said Chief Farr.

The investigator made 13 recommendations. The recommendations range from providing staff with remedial training to reinforcement and review of current EMS policy and procedure. Toronto EMS has already implemented a number of the recommendations and will follow through as quickly as possible to implement the remainder.

Key actions taken to date include:

• Preparation of remedial training programs for staff, including those involved in the call.
• Directive to all Toronto EMS managers to review and reinforce the existing staging policy.
• Improved supervision and management oversight of the staging process with the implementation of an “alarm” system in the Communication Center.
• A comprehensive review process of the existing staging policy and procedure is underway.

In addition, the Mayor has asked the City Manager to convene a working group with representation from EMS, the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care and Labour, the union and the City to review the current policy regarding paramedic staging. The staging policy is used when a paramedic is in doubt about their safety and may request that police or other appropriate agency attend the scene. This policy was put in place in 2005 as a result of an order by the Ministry of Labour.

Background material can be found at

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Kim McKinnon, Coordinator Public Information and Media, Toronto Emergency Medical Services, 416-392-2255,



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