Questions about Ambulance Service
- At home, you can dial 911 direct.
- At a business or other location, you may need to dial an outside line before dialling 911, for example in some cases you may need to dial 9-911.
- At a pay phone, 911 is a free call that requires no coins.
- When using a cellular phone, be prepared to give the exact location of the emergency. The call is free
- For TTY access (Telephone Device for the Deaf) press the spacebar announcer key repeatedly until a response is received.
- If the caller does not speak English, tell the call-taker the name of the language in English (for example "Spanish" instead of "español"). The caller must stay on the line while the call-taker contacts our telephone translations service.
- Remain calm and speak clearly. Identify which emergency service you require (police, fire, or ambulance) and be prepared to provide the following information:
- Your language, if other than English
- Which emergency service you need: police, fire or ambulance
- A description of what is happening
- The location and nearest intersection
- Your name, address and telephone number
- Please remain on the line to provide additional information if requested to do so by the call-taker.
- Do not hang up until the call-taker tells you to do so.
- Remember, it is important to have your house numbers visible from the street. This will assist emergency personnel in finding you as quickly as possible.
Explain to your family member to call 911 even if they don’t speak English. Say the name of the language they speak in English (for example "Spanish" instead of "español"), and wait on the line until the call-taker can get the translation service on the line.
Questions about Ambulance Service
Paramedics are professionals trained in providing emergency medical care and authorized by a doctor to perform specific medical procedures and administer specific medications.
Paramedics wear epaulettes on their shoulders. Each bar on the epaulette represents his or her attained level of paramedicine, from level I to Level III.
You might also see Toronto EMS management staff wearing epaulettes. These men and women wear white shirts, and the bars on their epaulettes are as follows 1: Alternate Rate Supervisor, 2: Supervisor, 3: Manager, 4: Director, 5: Chief.
AMBULANCE is spelled backwards on the hood of all of our ambulances so that the word is easy to read in your rear view mirror when the ambulance is behind your vehicle.
The paramedics take the most life threatening cases to the closest hospital to get rapid treatment. Other patients are directed to hospitals by the Communications Centre’s Hospital Destination Coordinator.
The Destination Coordinator attempts to direct the ambulance to the Emergency Department that matches the patient’s medical requirements. The Destination Coordinator also tries to even out the load on all the hospitals. The emergency departments across Toronto are very busy. Load balancing helps ensure ambulances are available to others who need them.
Lights and sirens are used for high priority emergency calls. Emergency warning systems are deactivated if the call priority has been downgraded or the call has been cancelled.
Billing for Ambulance Transport
No. Service isn’t free, but the majority of your ambulance bill is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (O.H.I.P.). When transported in a licensed ambulance, Ontario residents receive a bill only for that portion of the bill that is not covered by your health insurance. This fee is normally $45.00.
Normal land ambulance costs are billed at a rate of $240.00, of which all but $45.00 is covered by your provincial health insurance.
O.H.I.P. insures ambulance transportation only for those trips that are medically essential. The hospital to which you were transported makes the determination as to whether your ambulance trip was medically necessary. If the doctor decides that you could have made your way to hospital by another means, you will be billed for the full amount of the ambulance bill. This is necessary in order to ensure that the system is not abused, and that the service is available to those who really need it.
Anyone who is not a resident of Ontario, or is not insured under O.H.I.P., will be billed at the full, uninsured rate of $240.00. Some private health insurance carriers and travel insurance carriers may reimburse you for these costs. It is up to you to discuss this with your insurance carrier.
Yes. You will be billed at the uninsured rate of $240.00. It is your responsibility to recover any insured costs from your own provincial health insurance plan.
There is no charge for this service for insured residents of Ontario. Similarly, there is no charge applied when a patient is transferred to a nursing home, home for the aged, or other designated special care facilities.
Yes, in some circumstances. Patients being sent home on Home Care will not receive a bill for service, but subsequent calls for ambulance service which are not ordered by your doctor, will be billed. Whether or not you are responsible for paying these bills should be discussed with Home Care.
There is no charge for this service. You will, however, be required to sign a form releasing Toronto EMS and its employees from any liability arising from your refusal to go to the hospital.
Out of town transfers are billed at the basic rate, plus an additional charge for each kilometre over 60 km travelled.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has mandated receiving hospitals to bill patients for ambulance service provided. The bill is issued on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, not the local ambulance service. Local ambulance services have no control over billing processes, except in special circumstances, and they do not directly receive the money from your ambulance bill. For this reason, all billing inquiries should be directed to the hospital which issued the bill for ambulance service, and not to the ambulance service itself.
Patient transfer services are not licensed ambulances, and are not insured under O.H.I.P. If you choose to use one of these services, you will be liable for payment of the full bill, with no reimbursement from O.H.I.P. These companies operate on a fee for service basis in much the same way as a taxicab or a limousine. They are not regulated by Toronto EMS, nor do we investigate concerns regarding the services which they provide. You do have the right to refuse to use such a service, and to insist on being transported by a licensed ambulance.