Unifor thanks all paramedics for their exceptional courage and compassion on the occasion of Paramedic Services Week, which runs from May 23 to May 29, 2021.
Paramedic Services Week serves to spotlight our professional paramedics. The theme for this year's Paramedic Services Week "Paramedic as Educator – Citizen Ready" this year's theme hopes to demonstrate the important role that paramedics play as educators to the public.
As emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, paramedics bring tremendous courage and dedication, skill, commitment, care, and compassion to their jobs as first responders. Paramedics are the highest medical authority on all pre-hospital medical emergencies and are frequently called upon to perform lifesaving skills from the point of patient contact until the transfer of care at a receiving medical facility.
Canadians rely on paramedics at times of great tragedy. The past year has been no different. Paramedics have been on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic transferring critically ill patients, administering vaccines, conducting COVID-19 tests and working with communities to help manage outbreaks.
Though governments call paramedics heroes, they have been treated far from heroes.
In Thunder Bay, paramedics at Superior North Emergency Medical Services reached a tentative collective agreement in the final hours of contract negotiations, avoiding strike action.
More recently, Unifor ORNGE Paramedics voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action. They are essentially the only paramedics in the province that are covered by Bill 124, which caps total compensation to one percent each year.
These are the same paramedics who have not had a vacation, and in some cases, not even days off. ORNGE paramedics have come from as far as Kenora, Thunder Bay and Timmins to help in the GTA moving critically ill patients to hospitals with ICU capacity. They work a 12 to 14 hour shift and then do it all again the next day.
The union is calling on the Ontario government to remove the one percent wage cap imposed by Bill 124 and allow these workers to negotiate a collective agreement like all other land ambulance services in Ontario who have freely negotiated collective agreements. Unifor will meet with the Finance Minister this week.
Unifor stands in unity and respect during Paramedic Services Week with all paramedics and remains committed to ensuring fair and equitable terms and conditions of employment in recognition of their care and compassion and tremendous courage and dedication, skill, and skill commitment in their service to the health of Canadians.
Download and share the Paramedic Services Week 2021 shareable and join us in thanking all Paramedics for their compassion, humanity and lifesaving work in our communities.