A patient being brought on an Ornge helicopter at night

Ornge FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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Ornge FAQ

We've compiled a list of FAQs and have sorted them into general topics below. If you have any questions that have not been addressed, feel free to reach out to us directly at info@ornge.ca

How do the pilots decide if it’s safe to fly?

The pilot in command has the final say in all decisions regarding safety of the passengers and crew.  The captain will assess all factors including, but not limited to:

  • Weather conditions at the point of origin, the destination and en route
  • Airport or helipad conditions and restrictions
Using this information, the pilot will determine whether or not to accept a mission.

How do I access my Personal Health Information?

The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) grants patients the right to access their own health records. PHIPA also requires institutions to protect patient health records and keep them confidential.
If a patient or designate wishes to request personal health information specific to their Ornge transport, they may complete a Personal Health Information Request form on the Health Record page.

What type of vehicle will I be transported in?

You may be transported using a helicopter, airplane or land ambulance. The Ornge Operations Control Centre will determine the appropriate vehicle and crew for your transport.

Learn more about Ornge's fleet and Operations Control Centre.

How can I share a concern about Ornge?

We actively seek feedback from patients and their family members, healthcare providers and others. Your feedback will help us continuously improve our service.

If you would like to speak with someone about your experience or ask questions about Ornge’s services, please contact our Patient Advocate.
 
If you would like to write to us, please submit a complaint online.  Once your complaint is received, we will:

  • Send you an acknowledgment.
  • Contact you to clarify details about your concern, explain our complaints process, and provide you with a timeline and contact information.
  • Investigate the concern.  This may include reviewing health and transport records, listening to audio taped conversations, interviewing involved staff.
  • Contact you with the findings to provide you clarification and resolution.

Where can my friends or employer find information about the status of my transport?

Friends or employers are encouraged to contact the patient's family directly to receive updates on patient condition or patient transport. Due to patient privacy, we are unable to share patient details without patient consent. 

I do not live in Ontario and/or I do not have OHIP coverage. Will I be charged for services provided by Ornge?

Air ambulance services for non-Ontario residents are not covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Act.   Patients who reside outside of Ontario or who do not have a valid OHIP card will receive an invoice from Ornge and are responsible for the costs associated with their transport.  (The cost of each transport is based on cost recovery only, with no profit component.)  Note:  Ornge strongly recommends that non-Ontario residents and people not covered by OHIP obtain travel insurance that includes air ambulance coverage.
 
Please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s website to see additional information about ambulance service billing.

I am a non-Ontario resident I have traveled to Ontario with health travel insurance. How is payment processed?

Upon receipt of payment, Ornge will provide you with a receipt.  If you believe you are eligible, you may investigate reimbursement with your insurance provider.
 
Note: Ornge strongly recommends that non-Ontario residents and people not covered by OHIP obtain travel insurance that includes air ambulance coverage.

What am I allowed to bring?

While being transported by Ornge, only one small piece of personal carry-on luggage is permitted. The decision to accommodate personal items rests solely with the captain.

​Under most circumstances, large items such as wheelchairs, walkers, portable oxygen generators, etc. cannot be secured onboard our aircraft. Therefore, alternate arrangements should be made by your healthcare provider prior to transport.

As food is not provided throughout the transport process, you may want to bring a snack.

Are there washrooms?

No, there are no washrooms onboard our aircraft or land vehicles. Ornge paramedics will make every effort to ensure that your transport is comfortable.

Why is my transport delayed?

Transport plans may change for a variety of reasons such as weather, aircraft availability and ground transport delays.

In addition, similar to an Emergency Department, Ornge must prioritize transports according to urgency.  The Operations Control Centre considers the medical condition of each patient as well as other transport-related needs.  As part of this process, a Transport Medicine Physician assesses each patient’s the urgency and level of care, and patients are triaged on this basis. 
 
The Operations Control Centre will apprise your care provider of any changes/delays and provide expected timelines.

What should I wear during transport?

Dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather and remember to bring clothes for your return trip home.  There are blankets onboard our aircraft and vehicles, however, patients travelling throughout the winter months are strongly encouraged to bring a winter jacket.
 

Do I need to bring money or identification?

We advise that you bring money/credit cards for unexpected expenses.  Make sure to bring appropriate government issued identification that would be accepted by major airlines if needed. 

Where did the name Ornge come from?

In 2005, a new, not-for-profit entity known as Ontario Air Ambulance Services Co. (OAASC) was created to coordinate all air ambulance services in the province. The OAASC changed its name to Ornge in 2006 - a nod to the distinct colour of its aircraft and ambulances.  It is not an acronym.
 
Learn more about Ornge's Programs and Services.

Where is your office located?

The Ornge HQ is located in Mississauga, Ontario; however, we have 12 bases located across the province.

Learn more about Ornge's locations.

Where can I find more information about ambulance service billing in Ontario?

Please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s website to see additional information about ambulance service billing.
 

Can a family member travel with me?
 

Every effort is made to accommodate one family member. There are a number of considerations, such as fuel and weight limitations. In some instances, it may not be possible for a family member to join the patient during transport.

Where can my family find information about my transport?

Ornge coordinates patient transportation with both the sending hospital and receiving hospital. Your family can seek information about your transport from your healthcare provider.

What types of vehicles are in Ornge’s Fleet?

Ornge uses helicopters, airplanes or land ambulance. The Ornge Operations Control Centre will determine the appropriate vehicle and crew for your transport.

Learn more about Ornge's fleet.

I’d like to submit a noise complaint, who do I contact?

As an essential service, we understand that on some days due to weather, wind and humidity the noise of our helicopter or plane may be louder than usual. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to submit a noise complaint, please contact us: communityrelations@ornge.ca

How do I share positive feedback about an experience with Ornge?

We actively seek feedback from patients and their family members, healthcare providers and others. Your feedback helps us continuously improve our service.

If you have had a positive experience that you would like to share, you can submit your feedback online, or visit the Patient Story Portal to learn how sharing your patient story can help make a difference.

How do I request an MT number?

It is the policy of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that no interfacility patient transfer takes place without a sending facility first obtaining a Medical Transfer (MT) Authorization Number from Provincial Transfer Authorization Centre (PTAC). This policy also applies to patients being transported from a healthcare facility to and from a private doctors’ or dentists’ office for treatment.
 
We strongly encourage you to use PTAC, our online internet process which is easy, secure, and more private and extremely fast – in most cases, you will receive an MT number within seconds.

Watch this informational video about using PTAC to Book a Transport.
 
Note: Life threatening emergencies DO NOT require a Medical Transfer Authorization Number to transfer.    

What is it like working for Ornge?

At Ornge, we are always looking for skilled people in a variety of roles who demonstrate Ornge’s values of Safety, Excellent, Integrity, Preparedness and Compassion.

Learn more about Working for Ornge.

Will I receive a letter confirming volunteer hours with Ornge?

Yes. Anytime you volunteer your time with Ornge, you may receive a letter confirming your participation. Please speak with your Ornge volunteer contact if you require a letter.

How do I access my Personal Health Information?
 

The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) grants patients the right to access their own health records. PHIPA also requires institutions to protect patient health records and keep them confidential.
If a patient or designate wishes to request personal health information specific to their Ornge transport, they may complete a Personal Health Information Request form on the Health Record page.
 

How do I make a complaint about an experience with Ornge?

We actively seek feedback from patients and their family members, healthcare providers and others. Your feedback will help us continuously improve our service.

If you have had an negative experience, you can submit a complaint online.
 

Our community is thinking about installing a helipad, who should I contact?
 

All helipads in Ontario must be in compliance with standards set by Transport Canada. We are happy to discuss the process and recommend technical guidance, contact us at helipadsupport@ornge.ca.

I have questions about an invoice from Ornge. What do I do?
 

Please feel free to contact finance-ar@ornge.ca with questions. Please quote the invoice number in your email.

How do I book a patient transport?
 

Looking for more information about booking your patient’s transport? Visit the Booking a Patient Transport page located in the Healthcare Partners section of our website.

I’m a Medical Escort, where can I find more information?
 

Looking for more information about Medical Escorts, including checklists, equipment lists and reimbursement forms? Visit the Medical Escorts page located in the Healthcare Partners section of our website.
 

How do I secure a landing zone for Ornge?
 

Looking for more information about Medical Escorts, including checklists, equipment lists and reimbursement forms? Vist the Aircraft Safety page to learn Onscene Safety Procedures as well as how to approach an Ornge vehicle.
 

What certifications do paramedics need to work at Ornge?
 

Ornge paramedics provide safe transport of critically ill and injured patients throughout the province. They work on ornge planes, helicopters and Critical Care Land Ambulances throughout Ontario. Certification levels include Advance Care Paramedics and Critical Care Paramedics. Learn more about the qualifications for Ornge paramedics.
 

What certifications do pilots need to work at Ornge?
 

Pilots at Ornge are key to the delivery of our service. They maintain a healthy work/life balance and have the opportunity to fly in diverse locations across the province. Learn more about the qualifications for Ornge pilots.
 

Where can I see the current openings?
 

Looking for a career with dynamic organization that makes a difference in the lives of Ontarians every day? Visit the careers page to see current career opportunities.
 

What do you look for in volunteers?
 

We are looking for enthusiastic, dedicated and passionate individuals to volunteer and represent Ornge in communities and events across Ontario. Visit our Volunteering with Ornge page to learn more about Community Relations Volunteers.
 

How do I volunteer with Ornge?
 

Volunteers play an essential role in Ornge's public education and community engagement initiatives. We encourage prospective volunteers learn more about volunteering with Ornge and to sign-up to stay informed about upcoming opportunities.  
 

Does volunteering lead to employment with Ornge?
 

No. Volunteering with Ornge does not guarantee employment. We encourage anyone interested in working at Ornge to visit our Career page to review current opportunities. 

Can I volunteer with my friends?

Yes. You are welcome to volunteer with your friends. All volunteers are encouraged to learn more about volunteering with Ornge and to sign-up to stay informed about upcoming opportunities.  
 

Will I get paid?
 

As an Ornge volunteer, you will not receive monetary compensation for your time.