Kenora District paramedics urge council not to contract out non-emergency services



    KENORA, ON, Sept. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Kenora District paramedics, Canadian
Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 5911 members, are urging the Kenora
District Services Board (KDSB) not to contract out non-emergency services to a
private company. The paramedics are also asking residents to contact their
KDSB members to ask that they vote to keep public services public.
    "Our members are extremely concerned about the consequences of
contracting out public services, said Keith Hunt, president of CUPE 5911. "Our
experience at CUPE, and remember we are the largest union in Canada with
members from coast to coast to coast, is that, when public services are
contracted out, it is the public that suffers."
    Private companies' first priority is the bottom line, to make a profit.
Time and again, in communities across Canada, when public services are taken
over by private companies, the service suffers. The private company must make
a profit and, as a result, CUPE research reveals that user fees often go up,
and services are scaled back or reduced to increase the profit margin.
    "As paramedics, we are concerned for the safety, health and well-being of
this community; this is our community, we live here too. We strongly believe
that public money-your money, my money, tax-payers' money-should go to support
public services that help our clients and not to make a profit for a private
company, one that may not even be owned by members of our community.
    "We are asking KDSB to keep all the paramedic services public, including
non-emergency transfer services. This is work we have always done and that we
should continue to do.
    "While frequently there are no emergencies when transferring a senior
from a nursing home to hospital, a patient to be airlifted, or doing the
long-distance transfers, there are times when experienced and knowledgeable
paramedics were suddenly required to use their skills-skills that will not
exist if non-emergency transfers are contracted out," Hunt said.
    "We are also suggesting that, if members of the public want to keep our
services for their loved ones and possibly themselves in future, they contact
their KDSB representatives and tell them their concerns."




For further information:

For further information: Keith Hunt President, CUPE 5911, (807)
737-0419; Danny Scheibli, CUPE National Representative, (416) 659-6648; Wendy
Forbes, CUPE Communications Representative, (416) 892-8716

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