Government of Manitoba privatizing two LifeFlight jets
Published Friday, June 7, 2019 7:37AM CST
The government is moving forward with its plan to privatize two provincially-owned jets that are part of the LifeFlight program.
The service flies critically ill and injured people from remote areas to Winnipeg for care.
The province announced Thursday the jets will be replaced with privately-operated planes as early as later this month.
Government officials said they no longer have the staff to safely operate the two jets.
Michelle Gawronsky, the president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union said she’s concerned and frustrated.
“We know that when you've got a government that is providing the public service there is accountability involved. There is ensuring that standards are being met, and how is this government going to guarantee that for the folks in rural Manitoba and in the northern remote areas, that they are going to have the best quality life ambulance that they could get,” she said.
The government said recruiting specialized staff for the jets has been difficult.
The government jets were used on half of all calls last year, while the other half were with a private operator.
It added that most other jurisdictions in Canada utilize privately owned and operated air ambulance services.