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Ornge Responds to Toronto Star article

Ornge, December 05, 2011 - On behalf of Ornge’s Board of Directors, Ornge management and staff, Ornge is compelled to respond to the Toronto Star story of December 5, 2011. We are setting the record straight.
Ornge compliant with the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, 1996.

Ornge is in compliance with the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, 1996.
The following information was sent to Kevin Donovan at the Toronto Star on Friday, November 25, 2011.

Ornge is a federally incorporated, non-share, capital corporation and a registered charitable organization. Ornge is not a crown corporation or a government agency, nor is it a hospital. As you are aware, Ornge provides transport medicine services to Ontario residents pursuant to a performance agreement with the MOHLTC. Given that Ornge receives funding from the government to provide transport medicine services, it is required by statute to report the salaries of all operations and front-line staff who earn more than $100,000 per year.

Operational staff at Ornge Ontario include the Chief Operating Officer, Tom Lepine, who is responsible for all aspects of the operations of the Ontario transport medicine system. Other members of the operational staff include the Chief of Staff, VP Operations, VP Medical Affairs and Directors of Operations, management staff of the Ornge Communications Centre and paramedics.

All employees of the Ornge group of companies who fall outside this scope are not covered under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act. For example (to repeat something we mentioned in an earlier email) although our CEO, Dr. Mazza, receives a modest amount of income from Ornge Ontario for occasional services as one of our many base-hospital physicians, he is employed by one of the for-profit companies in the Ornge group of companies, not by Ornge Ontario. This is because his responsibilities extend much more broadly than overseeing the Ontario air ambulance system.

Those employed by the for-profit entities within the Ornge group of companies do not earn additional consulting fees from Ornge, with the exception as provided above with respect to Dr. Mazza’s services as a base-hospital physician.

Disclosure of employees’ salaries not covered under the salary disclosure legislation could breach confidentiality.

We continue to be committed to improving and enhancing the transport medicine system in Ontario to ensure it is sustainable for years to come. In its short five year history, Ornge and its personnel are proud of our ability to create a more efficient transport medicine system in Ontario. These achievements include:

a near perfect safety record over 5 years;
a 15 per cent increase in patients transported annually since 2006 through improvements in efficiency and operations. Ornge transported its 100,000th patient in December 2010;
replacing an aging third party fleet of fixed and rotor wing aircraft with brand new medically equipped state-of-the-art airplanes and helicopters, financed through private sector debt (rather than government/taxpayer funding), to ensure a sustainable transport medicine system;
updating the Ornge Communications Centre including a fully redundant back-up site as part of a robust disaster recovery plan;
launching new Critical Care Land Transport and Pediatric Transport programs; and
improved flight planning generally, reducing empty travel legs by 19 %.

Ornge receives certain management services from a separate entity, Ornge Global. While that entity shares a name with Ornge, it is not controlled by Ornge. As we have explained to the Toronto Star on many occasions, Ornge Global is not subject to the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act as it receives no funding from the Government. Ornge Global is comprised of a number of for-profit entities that were created to generate revenue from non-patient sources to sustain the Ontario transport medicine program.

Additional Information about Ornge
Ornge Corporate Structure and Revenue Generating Activities without Taxpayer Dollars
Ornge is not owned by the Government of Ontario. Ornge is a not-for-profit, non-share capital organization registered as a charity. Ornge provides transport medicine services in the Province of Ontario. It receives provincial funding for that program under the terms of a Performance Agreement. Ornge delivers its programs on a strictly not-for-profit, cost-recovery basis. The Ornge transport medicine program funded under the Performance Agreement is only one of the activities of the Ornge group of companies.

The pursuit of additional revenue by Ornge to supplement funding under the Performance Agreement for the Ontario system has been part of its strategic agenda since its creation in 2006. Ornge started to explore new business revenue sources in a small way in 2008, through the provision of training and consulting services (including to other governments). These efforts intensified over the years, in direct response to private sector interest in partnerships and joint ventures with Ornge on account of its ever more widely recognized leadership and expertise in transport medicine. In addition to its own discussions with potential international partners, Ornge participated in an Ontario trade mission to the Middle East sponsored by the Government of Ontario earlier this year.

Ornge management and the Board began to take a more formal and proactive approach to its ‘for profit’ business opportunities in early 2010. In particular, the company began to explore ways to more fully leverage Ornge’s brand reputation, intellectual property, strategic relationships and excess capacity to build profitable businesses that would enable Ornge to generate additional net revenue. Ornge was able to secure private sector funding (not taxpayer dollars) to help explore its options, research market opportunities, engage in discussions with interested private sector partners and develop a business plan.

As a result of these efforts, earlier this year Ornge Global was created to seek opportunities to generate revenues from corporations and other governments internationally for the purpose of benefiting the patients of Ontario.These business ventures are still in the start-up phase.As no taxpayer money is used to finance them, they are private businesses subject to the same rights of confidentiality as any venture financed with private investment.

International opportunities will enable Ornge to receive significant license fees to help in meeting future patient demand in Ontario.The business plans and revenue generating opportunities of Ornge Global and Ornge have been presented to the Deputy Ministers of Health, Finance and Infrastructure and were met with support.

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