Town updating Service Agreements with Police and Fire

The Town is revising and updating policies around its emergency services to make them more transparent and responsive.  This includes a new proposed Shared Services Agreement with the Saugeen Shores Police Service (SSPS), and new criteria for activation calls from Bruce County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the Saugeen Shores Fire Department (SSFD). 


The Committee of the Whole has recommended that Council authorize entering into a Shared Services Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the SSPS.  CAO, Kara Van Myall explained that she and the Chief of Police, Kevin Zettel, had worked together on the  document presented to Council.  “The Town provides a range of support services ranging from human resources and information technology to facility maintenance and snow removal and there has never been an outline of these resources that documents with clarity the scope of the resources being provided by the Town. This MOU makes the arrangements visible, transparent and clear to all.  The MOU also outlines the process for additional resources.”  The MOU will enable the Town to identify an allocation budget which will clearly identify the Town resources used in supporting the police service. “

Councilor Bud Halpin said that the Police Budget is approximately $4.8 million and “…we are also spending a lot of in-kind to support the Saugeen Shores Police Services.  I think this MOU is a good idea because we need to track what we are spending in total to support our police department. I respect and support our police department but they are out largest budget item and I’m happy to have the oversight in tracking of the in-kind expenses that will give the taxpayer the true picture of the costs of policing. Policing is important but the taxpayer is not a bottomless piggy-bank. So, I’m glad we’ll be tracking these things and looking after them.”

Halpin also went on to say that he understands the concept of ‘sharing services’.  “That is a good idea and I support that.”

“As our Town grows, it is important we improve emergency service levels while maintaining fiscal responsibility,” said Mayor Luke Charbonneau.  “I think it’s important to have a clear working relationship between the Police Service and Administration.  I think that people in the community may not realize that they are separate organizations all funded by the municipality but governed independently. We have a lot of interactions between the two organizations and it’s important to have clear lines of communication and a clear understanding of how that relationship works.”

The Mayor added that, “These agreements will help us to have a stronger police service and a stronger administration.  It gives the resources we need internally to support our Police to enable them to be out on the streets keeping our community safe.” 

The Police Chief will present the document to the Police Services Board on Wednesday, June 15th and return to Council on June 26th.


Council has also recommended revising how and when firefighters respond to EMS calls.  A new letter of agreement with Bruce County would see firefighters only respond when there are life-threatening situations such as the absence of vital signs, an overdose or choking.  The agreement would also allow firefighters to defer calls where medical assistance is already on scene.  “We are looking at what is called a run-card system that would determine and limit the number of firefighters and/or trucks that attend a medical emergency in particular,”said Fire Chief Ed Melanson.

He also explained that a 911 call goes first to police dispatch in Owen Sound who determines the kind of emergency and then dispatches the information to the Central Ambulance Communication Centre (CACC) in London, which then dispatches the level of service to the incoming call.  “We are dispatched by CACC but it is the accurate information provided by the caller that affects the service that will attend the situation.”

Council has also recommended approving a medical oversight agreement with London Medical Sciences Centre.  This agreement would provide training and oversight for firefighters to administer: 

  • Defibrillation and/or CPR for cardiac events,  
  • Naloxone for opioid overdoses, and  
  • Epinephrine for severe allergic reactions. 

Next Steps 

The Shared Services MOU is ready for the Saugeen Shores Police Board to execute before it heads back to Council for final approval and adoption of a by-law.  By-laws for both the letter of agreement with Bruce County EMS and the medical oversight agreement with London Medical Service Centre will also head to Council for approval on June 28th

Read the reports from Monday night’s Committee of the Whole agenda.