Paramedic services under “significant strain” says Nadeau

EMS arrive on scene to attend to patient. (Dan Gray/

A combination of factors has caused the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board Paramedic Division to be strained over the past 18 months.

Paramedics arrive on scene of a small residential fire on the city’s west end March 19, 2021 (Dan Gray/

After hearing that Niagara Falls had 105 overdose related calls last month, we reached out to Mike Nadeau, CEO of the DSSAB for the numbers in Sault Ste. Marie.

“We had 75 calls for such service in July last year and 77 calls in 2021. These include suspected opioid related, non-opioid related and alcohol related calls,” said Nadeau.

Opioid calls refer to drugs like Fentanyl, while non-opioid would be considered cocaine etc.

Nadeau said this puts the service in a difficult position at times.

Photo courtesy @DanSuttonPhoto
from Peel Paramedics on twitter

“The opioid crisis has added significant strain on our local paramedic system and paramedics as a whole.  Often times community members suffering from addiction also have additional untreated healthcare needs. This was one of the
factors as to why we fully supported the Community Wellness Bus,” said Nadeau.

Knowing Paramedics are human like the rest of us, we asked him what kind of strain this may be putting on the workforce.

Paramedics look on as they stand-by for any medical issues at the fire on Blucher Street, May 21, 2021 (Dan Gray/

“The paramedics within our service are highly trained, highly skilled professionals who provide excellent service to the community. However, the increase in mental health and addiction calls over the past few years, combined with the pandemic, have added significant strain to the team,” admitted Nadeau. “We are currently working with Algoma University to explore areas of micro credentials specifically focused on mental health service and triage techniques and strategies.”

An ambulance returns to the accident scene on Highway 17, July 28, 2021 (Dan Gray/

As always he encourages anyone who notices someone in need of immediate medical care to call 911. The dispatchers and paramedics are trained to assign and attend the most serious calls first.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction you are encouraged to reach out to any of the resources available to you through organizations throughout the city.

Stay with SaultOnline as we continue to cover the adverse effects of the pandemic and addictions crisis is having on our community.


  1. Now, can we ask how many health related calls did the paramedics attended?
    You can attribute whatever condition to an overdose, then I’ll ask, how many non drug and alcohol related calls did the paramedics attended?

    While I was recovering from a long cancer treatment, I had to call the paramedics and the ambulance en three opportunities. They were very efficient. I was billed and I had to pay $ 40.00 for each call, amount that I was allowed to pay in two instalments as I only collect a minimal amount of CPP and Old Age. Such invoice was issued by the Local Hospital Administration as it’s the rule for the people that have health related issues.

  2. Can we just give a big round of applause to all of our Frontline Workers please? EMS, Doctors, Nurses, Fire fighters, Police, Mail carriers, Delivery drivers, Retail employees, and Security Guards. A kind word helps brighten someones day.

    • I agree with you Chris.
      A BIG THANK YOU to all those that due to the nature of their job must confront adversity in a daily basis.
      THANK YOU, and know that the majority appreciate your work.
      THANK YOU for the many lives you can save at any moment.

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