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Response Time Standards - Issue Report

Report To: Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board

From: Paul Myre, Chief of Paramedic Services

Date: October 19, 2022

Re: Response Time Standards


The purpose of this report is to provide the Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB Board with a Response Time Standard (RTS) for calendar year 2023, and to obtain approval for submission of the plan to the Ministry of Health (MOH) by October 31, 2022. Additionally, this report will provide the DSB Board of Directors with specific information related to response capacity in order that future strategic planning can be informed.


Paramedic Services across Ontario are required by law to establish a performance plan for the following calendar year regarding overall response times to calls for service.  As per the Ambulance Act of Ontario, Regulation 257/00, the term “Response Time” is defined as the time a notice is received from a Paramedic Unit by a Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CACC) to the arrival on-scene of the Paramedic Unit. 

The plan must provide targets for Paramedic Service response times to 911 calls sequenced by acuity using the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS). This tool prioritizes patients based on their chief complaint on a scale from 1-5, 1 being the highest severity and 5 being the lowest. The plan must also include Paramedic Services’ target response times to all Sudden Cardiac Arrest calls. The MOH establishes the expected response times for all SCA (6 minutes or less) and CTAS 1 (8 minutes or less). 

The Paramedic Services sets the expected response time targets for all other calls. The legislation further mandates that Paramedic Services not only establish a plan but also must ensure that the plan is continuously maintained, enforced and evaluated.  By no later than October 31 in each year, Paramedic Services must submit a copy of the established plan for the following year including expected targets to the Ministry of Health. A complete copy of the previous year’s performance including the percentage of response times to Sudden Cardiac Arrests, CTAS 1,2,3,4 and 5 must be submitted to the MOH by no later than March 31st.

Current State

Since 2017, our service has submitted the following response times and performance expectation as targets by October 31 of each year:

Patient Type Plan in Minutes Plan in Percentage Performance in Percentage
CTAS 1 8 mins* 30% Due March 31
CTAS 2 15 mins 65% Due March 31
CTAS 3 20 mins 75% Due March 31
CTAS 4 25 mins 85% Due March 31
CTAS 5 25 mins 85% Due March 31
SCA 6 mins* 30% Due March 31

*Plan in minutes established by the Ministry of Health

During the April 2022 Board Meeting, the Board heard through the 2022 Response Time Standards – Issue Report that our service had missed all but 1 response time target but had already deployed countermeasures to hopefully improve our service’s RTS performance in 2023.  As Paramedic Services set the response time targets, the easy thing to do would be to simply adjust the plan to make it so we could meet each target every year.  However, staff believe that problems are golden opportunities to drive system improvements and that these problems should be visible and acknowledged.  

To this end, Paramedic Services will be submitting the exact same response time targets as 2022 to assess if the countermeasures deployed to address gaps have been effective all while continuing to explore other means to stabilize and improve our response capabilities.


The Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB will submit the 2023 response time standard plan  to the Ministry of Health as outlined above.