MONTREAL—Urgences Sante has seen an unprecedented peak in call volume over the past few days, leading the ambulance service to appeal to Montreal and Laval residents to only call 911 if they're facing a life threatening emergency.

Calls are up 10 per cent over the same time last year, leading to what the service has warned as a marked increase in response times. In non-life threatening situations, residents are asked to dial 811 to speak with a nurse.

“We are aware that at this time of year, for various reasons, whether it be weather related, or because it is a time of year that causes more depression and suicide-related calls, or just the flu season, to expect a high call volume, but we are seeing an even higher calling volume,” said Urgences Sante spokesman Bob Lamle.

The spokesman said that the warning was not a pressure tactic as part of tense contract talks with the government.