STARS offers time, hope and life-saving transport to critically ill and injured patients.

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How We Are Funded

Our VIPs

Maranda Lanouette - Woodridge, MB
STARS had just begun operating in Manitoba when Maranda Lanouette, a mother of two, was on an ATV ride with family in June, 2011 in the...

Costs of critical care

  • An average flight costs $5,400.
  • Maintenance on our Human Patient Simulator mannequins cost $4,000.
  • The cost to send our outreach team to train partners in the community is $750.
  • Medical flight helmets are $1,300. NVG equipped helmets are $2,700.
  • Medical equipment for the helicopter is $1,000 per aircraft.
  • An oxygen tank refill for each mission costs $25.
  • A 100 hour helicopter maintenance check costs $450.
  • Our BK117 medically equipped helicopters are $5 million each.

STARS is a charitable, non-profit organization, and the STARS Foundation is the fundraising arm of the organization. Funding is met through donations received from individuals, service groups, business and corporations, municipalities, and through collaborative agreements with provincial governments.

The incredible ongoing support of the community helps us continually enhance our innovative and leading-edge air medical programs and service.

Funding details

In an agreement reached in 2010, Alberta Health Services has agreed to support STARS and provide funding through to the year 2020. Approximately 20 per cent of STARS' total mission costs are funded by Alberta Health Services and the remaining 80 per cent comes from fundraising and community partnerships.

STARS total operating expenses per base is approximately $10 million a year.

On April 1, 2010, Alberta Health Services assumed responsibility for ensuring air ambulance services are available across the province. In addition to STARS, which provides dedicated rotary air ambulance through the affiliation agreement, fixed wing air ambulance services will continue to be conducted by 12 providers contracted by Alberta Health Services.

As part of this partnership, STARS also facilitates a critical care transport medicine education program for all air medical personnel (fixed wing and rotary) in the province. This provides consistent training and equitable education opportunities. STARS also coordinates the movement of critically ill patients from rural hospitals to larger centres.

Are patients billed for transport by STARS?

In Alberta, patients do not receive any request for repayment of the costs of their transport by STARS.








Funding details

The provincial government of Saskatchewan is investing $5 million in 2011-12 with approximately $10 million annually moving forward. The remainder of the funds will come from STARS fundraising efforts, including contributions from the community and corporate sector.

STARS is a community based, charitable, non-profit organization. Your support is vital to our mission. Funds raised in Saskatchewan support the local STARS program.

Are patients billed for their transport by STARS?

STARS is not involved in billing patients directly. The Saskatchewan Government’s current billing practice for fixed-wing air ambulance services also applies to helicopter ambulance. Patients are charged a $350 fee per flight.

Funding details

The province of Manitoba and STARS signed a 10-year agreement on February 22, 2012. STARS is compensated $10 million dollars per year to operate a helicopter EMS program out of our Winnipeg base. Part of our plan in the province is to develop a fundraising program to reduce the amount of provincial funding required. For more information on how you can support STARS, please visit our Ways To Donate page. You can also volunteer with us or share your story as a former patient.

STARS was initially requested to provide service in Manitoba for a limited period during emergency flooding in 2009, and then again in April 2011. After responding in 2011, STARS was asked to remain in the province as the government explored the idea of having a permanent helicopter air ambulance program.

In 2012 and 2013, STARS operated our Manitoba program under budget and in July 2013, a $2.4 million surplus was credited to Manitoba Health. At the end of our fiscal year in March 2014, any remaining surplus will again be estimated and credited to Manitoba Health.

Are patients billed for transport by STARS?

In Manitoba, patients do not receive any request for repayment of the costs of their transport by STARS.

Please note: The content on this page reflects the region you are viewing. To change regions, please click the province name at the top of the page and select an alternate province.


As a charitable, non-profit organization, STARS respects and values your rights as a donor. To learn more about the Donor Bill of Rights, click here.