DSSAB Update

The Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board has postponed any measures to reduce land ambulance service here until next month because it is expecting a funding announcement from the province.
“Further funding is forthcoming,” acting chair Gary Gamsby noted.
The DSSAB passed a resolution last night “to delay any resolution to reduce land ambulance service” to the date of the board’s next meeting (Oct. 20).
CAO Donna Dittaro said they are expecting the announcement within the next week.
She could not speculate on how much money might be forthcoming.
The board has accused the province of paying less than its share of the costs for the land ambulance program, leaving district municipalities to make up the difference.
When land ambulance services were devolved from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to municipalities in 2001, it was agreed the cost would be shared 50/50.
But the DSSAB said the ministry only is paying close to 30 percent currently.
The board had passed a resolution in March stating that “should the province fail to provide funding to sustain the existing levels of service, [. . . the DSSAB] will be forced to take steps . . . to reduce land ambulance service to affordable levels, effective Jan. 1, 2006.”
It board also is hoping the ministry will come through with a new funding formula for First Nations land ambulance service.
Health Services manager Dan McCormick said the current formula does not take into account the great distances an ambulance has to travel to service some of the First Nations communities in Rainy River District.
Because of these distances, the land ambulance operators must make sure they have enough staff and equipment to service the local community when an ambulance team is responding to a more remote area, he explained.
Regarding the proposed heliport in town, McCormick said Ministry of Transportation officials will be here next week to inspect the proposed site.
Also at last night’s meeting, Dittaro received an award for five years of service with the local DSSAB.