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Review to probe deaths involving Ornge air ambulance service

Auditors from Ontario's Ministry of Finance are probing all aspects of the Ornge air-ambulance service.

John Hanley for The Globe and Mail/john hanley The Globe and Mail

Ontario's chief coroner has established a review into deaths involving the province's troubled air ambulance service to see whether transport aboard Ornge may have played a role.

Dr. Andrew McCallum says his office will bring together a panel of experts to look into a number of deaths over the past six years "where there are relevant concerns."

The panel will then decide whether to make recommendations "to ensure that the best possible care is provided" by the air ambulance service.

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Dr. McCallum says the exact number of deaths to be examined remains to be determined.

An earlier review of deaths found that none had been "materially affected" by issues at Ornge, which is currently under a criminal probe for financial irregularities.

But the coroner says more cases have since come to light.

A legislative committee spent several sessions probing the controversy that's engulfed Ornge, including former CEO Chris Mazza's $1.4-million compensation.

The province's auditor general has already questioned Ornge's business dealings and slammed the government for failing to oversee an organization that received $730-million over five years and borrowed $300-million more.

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