TORONTO, May 29, 2014 /CNW/ - Paramedics, as emergency medical services
(EMS) personnel, bring tremendous dedication, skill and commitment to
their jobs as first responders, Unifor says, and during Paramedic
Services Week is calling for strong legislation to help them cope with
an often traumatic job.
"We rely on paramedics in times of great need," said Jerry Dias,
National President of Unifor, which represents hundreds of air and land
paramedics across Ontario.
"They are there for us, so we must be there for them.
Dias noted that as first responders, paramedics are on the front lines
of emergency health response, and are often witnesses to horrific and
Dias called on all political parties in the current Ontario election
commit to swift passage of Bill 67, a private member's bill to amend
the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act regarding Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) for paramedics.
The bill, sponsored by Parkdale-High Park NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, passed
second reading February 27 with all-party support, but died when the
June 12 election was called.
Bill 67 proposed that if first responders such as police, fire fighters
and paramedics suffer PTSD, the disorder would be presumed to be an
occupational disease that occurred due to the employment as an
emergency response worker, unless the contrary was shown to be the
Unifor also calls on all parties to support consistent and equitable
early access to retirement pension benefits for paramedics as is now
provided to other emergency first responders such as police officers
and fire fighters.
"Paramedics are as deserving as other first responders and public safety
personnel as they are also often called to the same horrific scenes,"
The cumulative impact of decades of emergency first response service and
repeated experience of horrific and traumatic situations has led to few
paramedics being able to endure the physical or emotional demands of
paramedicine until age 65.
Unifor stands in unity and respect on Paramedic Services Week with all
paramedics and remains committed to ensuring fair and equitable terms
and conditions of employment in recognition of their tremendous
dedication, skill and commitment to the well-being of Canadians.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing
more than 305,000 workers, including almost 30,000 in health and social
services. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto
Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information:
Unifor Health Care Director at Corey.Vermey@Unifor.org or (cell) 416-587-0636, or Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.