May 1 is the national day to recognize the important work of first responders including paramedics, communications officers, nurses and other health care staff. Tens of thousands of them are CUPE members. We want to commend and celebrate them all as “everyday heroes”.
For us, it’s not just on First Responders’ Day but throughout the year that CUPE Ontario and the CUPE Ambulance Committee of Ontario (CACO) are immensely proud of the commitment, skills and compassion paramedic workers and health care staff bring to saving lives across the province, each day.
Tenaciously for the last eight years we have supported changes to legislation that would make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a presumed work-related diagnosis under WSIB for paramedics and other first responders. This is such an achievement. But our work on this issue continues. Along with others in CUPE’s health sector, we will be urging the province to amend the new PTSD Act (Bill 163) to include other health care workers such as nurses.
As we celebrate the accomplishments of first responders, we want to acknowledge the immense contribution you make in our public health system.
Like other first responders, paramedic workers and health care staff witness their share of tragedy and trauma. You also see all the benefits of our health system, all the good it does and many of the gaps. Along with many of you, CUPE Ontario and CACO have doggedly advocated for additional paramedics and ambulances on the road and for better funding for health services. We are honoured to stand with you to advocate for our public health system.
Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario President
Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer
Jeff VanPelt, CACO Chair
Chris Day, CACO Vice-Chair