The ambulance service in Québec is well developed and efficient. Of course, we hope you won’t need it, but you should know how it works.

Firstly, there is only one phone number for different emergency services, including ambulance, police and fire service: 911. Please note that dialling 911 is for emergencies only; it is not an information service. For non-urgent medial enquiries, you can dial 811 to speak to Info Santé 811 nurses who can answer health-related questions and give you advice.

When you dial 9-1-1 you will be asked a series of questions by an attendant to determine how urgent your situation is, as well as your location. The attendant, or dispatcher, will then determine which emergency service is required, whether it be the police, fire, ambulance or paramedics department. The 9-1-1 attendant will stay on the phone with you and will give you instructions and updates while you wait; it is important to keep the call connected until help arrives.

In Québec there is a fee for transportation in an ambulance:

  • For a Canadian resident: The basic cost is $125 for a journey, plus $1.75 per kilometre travelled, plus $35 per additional person
  • For a non-resident: The basic cost is $125, plus a non-resident surcharge of $275, plus $1.75 per kilometre travelled

However, in some cases a journey in an ambulance is free:

  • For someone injured in a car crash, under certain conditions
  • For someone injured at work, under certain conditions
  • For someone receiving social aid/benefits from the government/social services
  • For someone aged 65 years-old or above
  • For someone being transported between two hospitals

Do note that if someone falling under these criteria do not need any further treatment or surgery once arriving at a hospital, they may still have to pay the fees.

Furthermore, some people with specific positions are compensated by the government:

  • Members of the Canadian Gendarmerie or army
  • Veterans
  • Natives or Inuits registered in a reserve
  • Prisoners

You can find out more information on the Urgences Santé Québec website.

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Photo Credit : santé