Answers to your questions

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Rates and billing

Who sets rates for ambulance transportation?

The Quebec government sets ambulance transportation rates. Rates have not increased since 1997.

How much does ambulance transportation cost?

For Canadian residents, the basic fee is $125 plus $1.75 per kilometre travelled. An additional $35 fee is charged for each additional person (with the exception of medical or social services personnel or family). See the list of exceptional assistance programs and their eligibility criteria.

Is payment automatically required for ambulance transportation?

Each person transported is responsible for transportation costs. However, there are exceptional assistance programs for Quebec residents who meet eligibility criteria. Please consult the list of programs. Exceptional assistance programs.

Does Quebec medical insurance cover ambulance transportation costs?

No, ambulance transportation is not covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec. You cannot present your health care card to pay for ambulance transportation.

Why isn’t ambulance transportation free?

This is a government decision. The ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux decreed that ambulance transportation services are not covered by Quebec’s provincial health care plan. In some cases, however, ambulance transportation may be covered by various exceptional assistance programs implemented by the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, and by certain provincial and federal programs. Please check the list of programs and their eligibility requirements.

Can I make a claim for ambulance transportation fees under my group insurance? If yes, can you send the invoice directly to my insurer?

Group plans generally cover these costs, but only up to a certain percentage. Ambulance costs may also be covered under individual health insurance plans. We recommend that you contact your insurer’s customer service centre to check your coverage. We cannot send your invoice directly to your insurer, however, because only the insured person can submit a claim.

What is an institution of the health and social services network?

According to the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, a network institution is a “hospital centre, a residential and long-term care centre (CHSLD), a rehabilitation centre, a local community service centre (CLSC) or a child and youth protection centre.” Please note that in Montreal, CLSCs are not included for coverage of the cost of ambulance transportation between two network institutions.

When my husband had a cardiac event, I went with him to the hospital in the ambulance. Do I have to pay from my transportation in addition to his?

No, you do not have to pay for your transportation because you are a family member. The same principle applies to medical and social services personnel.

When I was hit by a car while crossing the street, bystanders called the ambulance. Do I have to pay for the ambulance?

No, individuals injured in a road accident do not pay for ambulance transportation, provided that the transportation conditions are related to the accident. The transportation is paid for by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

I was recently taken to the hospital by ambulance for an emergency. Why didn’t the paramedics tell me that there is a fee for transportation?

Paramedics have to manage several situations simultaneously during a response. They have to care for the patient in accordance with various protocols, and their priority is caring for the patient and getting to the hospital quickly.

I had an accident at work and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance. Do I have to pay for the ambulance?

You do not have to pay for transportation to the hospital following a workplace accident. Your employer will pay for transportation. When you leave the hospital, if you require transportation home by ambulance, the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CSST) will pay for the transportation.

I slipped on ice in the street and was injured, and the police called the ambulance. Does this mean that my ambulance transportation is free of charge?

No. The police can call an ambulance, as other witnesses to your accident could have done. However, you are responsible for paying the invoice.

My doctor requested that I be transported by ambulance. Will I be billed?

Yes, you will be billed. A doctor’s prescription simply means that the transportation is appropriate, not that it is free of charge.

My son was in a car accident and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Will he be billed?

No, he will not be billed. The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) pays for ambulance transportation for persons injured in a road accident.

My father was transported by ambulance from the CHSLD to the hospital for emergency surgery. Does he have to pay for the ambulance transportation?

No, there is no charge for persons transported between two institutions of the health and social services network if the transportation is medically required and approved by the institution of departure.

My daughter was injured at school and school staff called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Why should I pay for the ambulance when I am not the person who called it and I did not give my authorization?

The person who calls the ambulance is not responsible for paying for transportation. It is the transported person (or in your case, their legal guardian) who is responsible for payment, unless they are eligible for one of the exceptional assistance programs.

In emergencies or distressing situations, many of the calls that come to our health communication centre are placed by a family member, friend or witness. They have only one priority: get help quickly for the person who needs it.

I went to a CLSC for a health problem, and became ill. The nurse called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. Why am I being billed for the ambulance transportation?

In the Montreal area, local community service centres (CLSCs) — like clinics — do not qualify for free transportation between two health network institutions. Accordingly, you have to pay the ambulance invoice yourself. For more information, see the Politique de gratuité du transportation ambulancier entre deux établissements du réseau de la santé [Policy on free ambulance transportation between two health network institutions].

I was assaulted and injured in a parking lot by young purse snatchers. I was unconscious and passers-by called an ambulance. Do I have to pay for the ambulance transportation?

You have to pay the invoice, but because you are the victim of a criminal offence, you are eligible for reimbursement if you make a claim under the Crime Victims Compensation (IVAC) program. Urgences-santé cannot, under any circumstances, submit a direct claim to IVAC.
Indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels (IVAC).

My 76-year-old mother became ill during a trip to Florida. She returned to Montreal by air as soon as she was able and upon her arrival at Dorval Airport, was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Does she have to pay for the ambulance transportation?

Yes, your mother has to pay. However, if she has travel insurance with the appropriate coverage, she should be able to make a claim to her insurer. We suggest that you check with her insurance company.

Paying your Urgences-santé invoice

I have an Urgences-santé invoice and would like to know how to pay it.

You have a number of options. You can pay the invoice: :

  • Electronically via your financial institution;
  • At an ATM or directly at your financial institution;
  • On our secure website, with or without a PayPal account. Go to the Pay an Invoice section;MC, dans la section Payer une facture;
  • By credit card (Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club), either by mail or telephone;
  • By cheque, made out to Urgences-santé; or
  • In person at our head office via cash, debit, cheque or credit card.
How long do I have until payment is due?

You have 28 days from the date shown on the invoice. You will be charged interest on late payments.

I have an outstanding ambulance bill but cannot pay it because of financial difficulties. What will happen to me?

Contact us if you are experiencing financial difficulties. We will work with you on a solution. You can reach our customer service at 514-723-5600, Ext. 5666. You can also email us at

I was recently transported by ambulance, and in order to make a claim to my insurer, I need the "pre-hospital response report" and the hospital’s diagnostic report. How do I get copies?

You have to fill out the form for the pre-hospital response report, and contact the hospital directly for a copy of its diagnostic report.

le formulaire in french for now.

Comments and Lost & Found

I would like to congratulate and thank the Urgences-santé paramedics who took care of my husband while transporting him to hospital. How do I do that?

You can submit a note online. We would be happy to pass along your comments to the paramedics in question.

in French for now.

I would like to comment on a hospital transportation by Urgences-santé. How do I do that?

See the Comments and Complaints section for instructions.

I was recently taken to hospital by ambulance and have not been able to find my eyeglasses since. I think they were left in the ambulance. Do you keep items left in the ambulance?

If you think you left a personal item in an ambulance, please call us at 514-723-5758.

Procedures – Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers

Why do paramedics sometimes not use the siren or flashing lights?

When paramedics are on their way to a response site, they adapt to the level of priority established by the health communication centre. On the way to the hospital, the use of the siren and flashing lights depends on several factors: the status of the person being transported, the distance to be covered, and traffic conditions. Given the risks involved in an emergency transportation, the siren and lights are used only when necessary.

Why do they ask so many questions when you call 911 to request an ambulance in an emergency?

Each call that Urgences-santé receives must be assessed to ensure that it is treated with the required degree of emergency and the appropriate resources. Also, emergency dispatchers can give you instructions so that you can help the person in distress or prepare for the arrival of the paramedics.

Why don’t paramedics immediately evacuate and transport the person?

Paramedics are trained to provide you with care first and then take you to the hospital for diagnosis and further care. Providing you with that care may not only help you immediately but ensure that your status does not deteriorate, and can even promote healing. Paramedics take action based on what they observe and the symptoms that you describe, using response protocols that are approved by the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.

Why don’t paramedics automatically take you to the nearest hospital?

Working with its partners, Urgences–santé has developed precise rules so as to distribute patients among emergency rooms based on clinical and geographic criteria, and on emergency room capacity. Also, a patient may be taken to a specific hospital because of the nature of the medical problem. For example, a child would be taken to a children’s hospital, and a patient who has recently undergone heart surgery would be taken to the hospital where the surgery was done. A patient who is not on file at a specific institution will be taken to the hospital first able to receive him or her.