PEEL REGION, ON, Nov. 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Concern about Ebola preparedness at Peel Regional Paramedic Services has been the subject of several high-profile media reports. The union believes that this embarrassing exposure is the reason the employer is targeting a paramedic who served as a whistle-blower.
According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, ambulance services in Toronto, Hamilton and Peel are "scrambling to prepare nearly 1,800 paramedics for Ebola."
On Oct 27, after the publication of an article in the Globe and Mail, paramedic Michael Speers received a phone message notifying him that he is the subject of an investigation regarding allegations of "gossiping in the workplace" and Paramedic code of conduct violations.
OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas has said the union will not tolerate this attack on one of its members.
"We will not allow this employer to target one of our members for speaking up on an important issue concerning health and safety," said Thomas. "This has nothing to do with 'gossip'. It's all about trying to silence this paramedic with threats of reprisal."
Speers, who is the union Co-Chair of Peel Paramedic Services Joint Health and Safety Committee, was not working on the day in question, but attended to check his personal work email at which time he answered the questions of two members regarding lack of Ebola preparedness.
Prior to being notified of the investigation, Speers had written a confidential whistle-blower letter, which was delivered to the Office of Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Eric Hoskins on October 28. Although Peel Regional Paramedic Services has their own in-house investigators, they are paying large legal fees to hire an external firm.
"The union believes this paramedic is being targeted by his employer because he stood up for his fellow paramedics," said Thomas. "Michael Speers deserves a great deal of respect for taking a stand for what is right."
"Peel Regional Paramedic Services should know that Speers has his union standing with him."
SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)