Thunder Bay Emergency Medical Services wants to take control of dispatching emergency calls, a job that is currently done by the province.

The recommendation is part of a new strategic plan for the city's ambulance service presented to city councillors in Thunder Bay at a meeting Monday night.

The chief of Superior North EMS said working under the provincial system has been a challenge.

"I am rightly held accountable to the province and to Thunder Bay municipal council for the system performance, and that includes response time," Norm Gale said. "Yet, our team has no real time control over the movement of our assets."

Strategic plan for delivering patients to hospital

One other area the report focuses on is the delay in "off-loading" patients at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

EMS head Norm Gale said the report presented to council Monday night shows that internal solutions by the hospital aren't working.

Gale said plans are afoot to work with the hospital to reduce those off-load times so EMS workers can see patients admitted sooner.

Superior North EMS is also responsible for service to many municipalities and First Nations north and east of the city.

Coun. Rebecca Johnson wanted to know how closely they were consulted.

"Because it has to be a Thunder Bay district, so how do we [proceed] if some of the municipalities or the Aboriginal communities that we have services in don't agree?"

Gale said he regularly speaks with officials in other communities, and he's sent copies of the plan to all affected municipalities.

"We have worked closely with district municipalities to ensure that their input and their considerations are heard," he said.


Thunder Bay EMS Chief Norm Gale presents to Thunder Bay council a proposed plan to improve emergency services in the region. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

"Having said that, Thunder Bay municipal council is the designated delivery agent, and Thunder Bay municipal council has the statutory authority to set service levels for EMS."

Gale added he's also offered to meet with any municipality that he's sent a copy of the plan to and told council there are several communities interested in meeting, with some wanting to meet quite urgently.

He also told council he's scheduled to present the plan to the Thunder Bay District Municipal League next month.

Council voted to receive the plan, but it will have a more thorough look at it next month.