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TORONTO, ON – A Liberal press conference yesterday gave many in the media and public the misconception that unions representing emergency medical workers are backing the Ontario Liberal Party. This is not true.

In Ontario, most emergency medical workers are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). Neither union has endorsed Kathleen Wynne or the Liberals.

“On First Responders Day, the Liberals and Conservatives voted against emergency medical workers when they voted down a bill that would have extended WSIB coverage to police, firefighters and paramedics for post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Jeff Van Pelt, chair of the CUPE Ambulance Committee of Ontario. “We applaud NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo for repeatedly trying to pass this legislation, which should have received all-party consent. We cannot endorse a party that voted against it.”

Funding cuts to health care have resulted in increased workloads for paramedics. This results in increasing wait times for ambulance services and ultimately damages the quality of care our members can provide.

Long hours, stressful working conditions and schedules that make it nearly impossible to eat properly are contributing to increasing rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. This condition is directly work-related, although not yet recognized by WSIB. Cheri DiNovo has introduced four bills to address our WSIB concerns, but the Liberals and PCs have seen to it that not one has been passed.

“Liberal failure on the legislation is another example of this government’s lack of commitment to front-line emergency workers,” said OPSEU Ambulance Divisional Chair Jamie Ramage. “But Tim Hudak is doubly damned. His Tories voted down the legislation and also plan to cut 100,000 public-service jobs, including emergency medical services. A Hudak victory will lead to tragedy.”


For more information, please contact:

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316

Jamie Ramage, OPSEU Ambulance Divisional Chair, 905 730 9351