Hamilton’s Healthy and Safe Communities Department which covers everything from public health, through affordable housing, fire, paramedics even recreation, is looking for a 5.4 percent budget increase for 2022. The department will spend almost three quarters of a billion dollars, but with provincial and federal contributions plus fees and rentals will cost Hamilton taxpayers $269 Million.
The departments biggest contribution in the past year has been the management of the COVID pandemic which saw more than a million vaccinations administered in Hamilton. Many staff from non-health roles were seconded to the COVID effort, but the department still managed to maintain a skeleton level of its normal public health services.
Post COVID the department under the new general manager, Angela Burden, who was hired earlier this month, looks to use some of the lessons learned from COVID into new ways of working and to strengthen its service delivery.
Hamilton Paramedics reported there were more than 2500 ambulance calls where it took more than three hours to offload a patient at a hospital emergency centre. The department transports an average of 143 patients per day. Councillor Brad Clark questioned Paramedic Chief Mike Sanderson about the number of “code zero” events where there is one or no ambulances available.