Nova Scotia changes to ER?

Nova Scotia has proposed changes to who pays the bill for emergency response (ER). At this time, you are likely to see emergency response costs coming out of the municipal area rate.

This is about to change due to a resolution passed by Town of Hantsport and Windsor, and the Municipality of West Hants Municipality, which asks the Government of Nova Scotia to pay for the local fire departments activities related to motor vehicle accidents on provincial highways.

This resolution was first introduced by the Town of Windsor, during a joint council session earlier this year. All three councils agreed. Windsor Mayor Paul Beazley said, area fire departments should be compensated for their services outside of municipal jurisdiction.

Many of the department's service calls are on the provincial highways. It seems unfair, that the Province of Nova Scotia does not directly compensate the municipalities for these provincial expenses.

If there is a hazardous material spill or accident on the highway, the costs are now being absorbed by the fire department. The cost for fuel spills can be quite high due to the environmental exposure.

Nova Scotia's strict traffic control guidelines, require that volunteer firefighters spend hours on the highway directing traffic around a collision scene. These guidelines which were recently introduced, required the fire departments to purchase extra safety and traffic equipment. The resolution will allow billing to get back some of this cost.

If the government is absorbing the costs, then it does come back on the taxpayers. In Ontario the Department of Transportation and Public Works is invoiced by the fire departments, towns and municipalities, for costs related to incidents on provincial highways.

If an insurance answer is required to this problem, it will have to be dealt with through the insurance companies, and the government. Costs would then be controlled, and a person would not be concerned, about entering a claim due to having to pay the costs for a responding 911 call. Turner's Tips will watch for further news on an agreement between the insurers, and the Nova Scotia government for handling these costs.

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