Ontario Newsroom

Helping Critically-Ill Newborns Access Safe and Timely Transportation in Eastern Ontario

News Release

Helping Critically-Ill Newborns Access Safe and Timely Transportation in Eastern Ontario

Province Investing in Frontline Health Services

Ministry of Health

OTTAWA — Each year, more than 2,000 newborn babies in the province need to be transferred to a children's hospital to receive specialized, intensive care. That's why Ontario's Government for the People is protecting what matters most by helping the smallest and most vulnerable patients access life-saving transportation to get the treatment they need.

Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, was joined by Ottawa-area cabinet members and MPPs, at Ottawa Paramedic Services to announce more than $420,000 for a specially-equipped ambulance and a team of paramedics that will support transporting critically-ill newborns safer and faster in Eastern Ontario.

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) will also receive more than $1 million this year to support a highly-specialized team and ensure they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This team may include specially-trained registered nurses, respiratory therapists and neonatologists. CHEO's transport team serves the Champlain, South East and North East Ontario communities.

"Our government is protecting what matters most by ensuring Eastern Ontario's most vulnerable patients can safely access the life-saving care they need, when they need it," said Elliott. "This innovative partnership between paramedics and hospitals will reduce the time needed to transport a critically-ill newborn between hospitals by an estimated 19 per cent and provide better coordinated care to families during a difficult time."

At-risk newborns will experience better-connected care through:

  • Ambulances with life-saving equipment, including a power assisted stretcher and loading system
  • Availability of two paramedics per transport 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Improved patient transfers that are safer and better coordinated
  • Decreased transport time between hospitals.

"The Ottawa Paramedic Service has been involved in this important partnership with CHEO since 2016. We are proud to be part of this project who delivers world class care to our youngest patients regardless of their location," said Myles Cassidy, Chief Ottawa Paramedic Services. "Since the beginning of the program, we have deployed CHEO's Neonatal Transport Team toward more than 1500 patients. We are looking forward to continuing this program into the future with the investment from the Province. This program is an example of the positive collaboration between the province and municipal paramedic services."

"At CHEO, our neonatal transport team worked with Ottawa Paramedic Services to make sure the tiny newborns who need our care had the right equipment at the right time. We're so pleased the Government of Ontario is taking the model we developed here and rolling it out across Ontario," said Alex Munter, President and Chief Executive Officer, CHEO. "We're also grateful for today's investment in CHEO, which will allow us to hire the highly-specialized nurses and respiratory therapists that we need to ensure our team is available 24/7/365. These skilled and caring professionals hop onto ambulances, helicopters and planes to go and fetch the tiniest, most vulnerable patients in the Ontario health care system and bring them to the life-saving care they urgently need."

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing $6.8 million to support transporting critically-ill newborns safer and faster across the province. This funding will go towards five specially-equipped ambulances and a team of paramedics.
  • The four children’s hospitals in Ontario that will support the specially-equipped ambulances, will also receive nearly $5.8 million this year to support highly-specialized teams.
  • Highly specialized emergency medical service teams provide transportation for critically-ill newborns at four sites: Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Children’s Hospital of London Health Sciences Centre, McMaster Children’s Hospital and Hospital for Sick Children.
  • Of the 140,000 newborns born in Ontario annually, more than 2,000 require transport to a higher level of care and 91 per cent of these transports occur by land ambulance.

Additional Resources

Media Contacts



Health and Wellness