November 10, 2010
Media Release

Service dogs welcome!

Enhancements to all York Region Emergency Medical Services (EMS) vehiclesimprove service to people living with disabilities
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York strives to provide the best customer service possible and is continuously looking for new ways to meet the needs of the changing and growing demographics of York Region. 
 
Recently, York Region Emergency Medical Services (EMS) introduced two new initiatives to improve service delivery to people living with disabilities.  All York Region ambulances have been enhanced to allow for the transportation of assistive devices, such as electric wheelchairs.  As well, York Region paramedics can now safely transport service animals with their owners to the hospital. 
 
“Improving service delivery to people living with disabilities in York Region continues to be a priority,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “The enhancements to our EMS vehicles address the unique needs of people living with disabilities in our community and help ensure that all York Region residents receive the level of care possible.”
 
When an individual who is using an assistive device, such as a wheelchair or walker, requires the services of York Region EMS, every effort will be made to secure and/or transport their assistive device to hospital.  In the case of a large electric wheelchair, and when the alternative would be to leave the device in an unsecured public place, York Region EMS has partnered with York Region Transit (YRT) Mobility Plus to arrange for transportation of the wheelchair to the hospital.
 
Many people who live with disabilities rely significantly on a service dog or other animals to assist them with day-to-day activities.  These animals not only provide physical and sensory assistance, but for some people they also provide emotional therapy and support.  York Region EMS vehicles are now equipped with a dog harness to allow a service dog to be safely and securely transported to hospital with the patient in the back of an ambulance or other EMS vehicle, when appropriate.  Transporting these animals to hospital with the patient can have a positive effect on the individual’s outlook and outcome.
 
These recent enhancements are in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).  Introduced in 2005, the Act was created to require businesses, organizations and government to remove barriers that would otherwise prevent people with disabilities from participating in all aspects of society.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca
 

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