First Annual Maritime Paramedic Union Conference

Halifax, Nova Scotia – Paramedic and Dispatcher Unions from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI met for the first time in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to discuss issues paramedics and dispatchers are facing in their provinces. Ambulance services in each of these provinces are operated by Medavie.

“At the end of the day, our goal is to do the best we can for our paramedics and dispatchers and to provide the best possible care to our communities. This meeting was a great tool for our provinces in achieving that,” says Jason Woodbury, President of CUPE Local 3324, representing PEI paramedical workers.

This year’s Maritime Paramedic Union Conference was hosted in Halifax by the union representing Nova Scotia paramedics, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 727. The intention is that this will be an annual conference, with next year’s being hosted by CUPE Local 3324 in PEI.

Each province was given the opportunity to present on issues paramedics and dispatchers are facing in their areas, followed by a round table on the issues discussed. Topics included offload delays, half-staffed and out of service ambulances, inherent overtime caused by these delays, missed meals, paramedic burnout, low morale and more.

“Increased workload, off-Island transfers and equipment resources continue to be a constant concern affecting employee morale and public safety,” says Woodbury.

 

PEI Unions: Enact Bill 102 Immediately

Charlottetown  This Tuesday, May 8, CUPE PEI held a press conference to demand that the provincial government proclaim Bill 102, An Act to Amend the Workers’ Compensation Act. The bill aims to provide added support to workers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder by providing presumptive coverage to workers when they apply for compensation for PTSD.

CUPE PEI President Leonard Crawford and Jason Woodbury, President of CUPE Local 3324 and Miscouche’s Fire Chief, made their demand clear: “Bill 102 must be made law immediately. Despite the unanimous support of the legislature, going through all three readings and receiving Royal Assent in December 2017, somehow, it’s not yet law,” said Leonard Crawford.

“After four months, it’s clear this sluggishness is deliberate. This standstill is unacceptable. We demand Premier MacLauchlan act now,” said Crawford.

Rumours that a snap election might be called this summer worry union members, who fear Bill 102 may never see the light of day.

“The Government has a plan to put in its own PTSD legislation, Bill 2, which is basically Bill 102 with a broadened scope. That sounds great, but until Bill 2 goes through all the legislative hoops like Bill 102 did, we should err on the side of caution and protect the gain we should already have,” said Woodbury.

“Doing otherwise than enacting Bill 102 sends the worst message to PEI workers. It means injured workers are less of a priority for this government than crass partisanship,” denounced Woodbury.

CUPE PEI notes that Bill 2 is not without flaws. The proposed changes make it so only psychiatrists and psychologists can deliver a PTSD diagnostic to make compensation possible. The ongoing psychologist and psychiatrist shortage on the Island means there will remain significant barriers to eligibility.

“Proclaim Bill 102, and then, we can talk about making it better through a Bill 2 after”, concluded Crawford.

CUPE PEI leaders were flanked by the president of the PEI Federation of Labour, the PEI Nurses Union president, Opposition MLA’s and representatives of the PEI Health Coalition.