Ambulance operators in Saskatchewan are going to be feeling some relief from inflation this winter with a fuel subsidy from the government. 

Last week the province issued a release announcing a one-time subsidy of $2.85 million to be divided between 105 ground emergency medical services operating in 108 communities. 

Cam Hutchinson, EMS chief at Hutch Ambulance, said that while they don’t know exactly how much they’ll receive, it will impact them significantly. 

“Our costs have gone up dramatically, not only just COVID, but over the years,” he explained. “We’ve been working with Saskatchewan Health Authority to try and up our kilometre rate, due to the fact that ten or fifteen years ago we could buy an ambulance for $150,000, and now the same ambulances are going for $180,000 to $260,000.” 

According to Hutchinson, the last time they received a subsidy like this was back in 2008, but costs have continued to increase since then. 

He added that Hutch Ambulance expects to receive funds in December, and the amount is based off of the number of calls they responded to and kilometres they travelled over the past year. 

The EMS operation plans to use the money to help them get by day-to-day and possibly buy another ambulance next year, as well as kick starting something new.  

“We are transitioning to the Advanced Care Service,” Hutchinson said. “So, we're doing recruiting, retention and subsidies for some of our employees to go on for training." 

In 2021-22, Saskatchewan ambulance operators responded to more than 171,000 calls for service across the province and travelled well over 13 million kilometers. Northern medical taxi provided 2,709 trips for northern residents and travelled almost 1.5 million kilometers. 

“We're working hard to provide everybody with awesome service to the communities of Swift Current and surrounding area, and we're available 24/7.”