Over the course of seven months at the negotiating table, the parties agreed on more than 80 proposals – a figure, according to Eby, which represents a huge step forward in modernizing the collective agreement. Terry Dyer, head of the Powell River Unit, referred the pic to Sarah Morris, Media Relations, BC Emergency Health Services. Morris stated that the new collective agreement marks a significant evolution of the service model provincially, and it will be some time before the implementation of the changes is implemented. Morris told BCEHS` current resources in Powell River: There are two ambulances (and one additional vehicle if necessary) and 16 paramedics, consisting of four full-time equivalents and 12 part-time positions. “This new collective agreement can make the most significant changes our employment has ever seen in a single period of negotiations,” said Cameron Eby, President of CUPE 873 (Ambulance Paramedics of B.C.). Fraser Lake and Central Kootenay Regional District sent decisions to the town hall last week and argued that the change is taking already thin ambulance services away from rural communities to meet demand in urban centres. They called for more intervention from volunteer firefighters and rescue associations to respond to calls. B.c.. Paramedics have been working without a union contract since April 1, 2019.

(Black Press Media files) According to their union, B.C paramedics have secured hundreds of new positions and additional stability to work in rural areas under a new three-year contract with the province. “Small municipalities rely primarily on occasional ambulance services. At Oliver Station, there is only one full-time position and the rest of the schedule is occupied by casual workers,” she said. [The Department of Health] relies on casual paramedics to use rural communities as a cost-cutting mechanism. Such an approach is extremely unfair to qualified paramedics, who provide a highly valued service, and equally unfair to smaller communities that deserve the same level as larger communities. The big change is the implementation of the “rural paramedic,” an approach launched by the previous government in 2017, where part-time and on-call paramedics receive full-time work, include home calls and work with residential facilities in small towns. The new agreement is the first collective agreement for B.C. ambulance and distributors since 2004. It includes general wage increases of two per cent per year, hundreds of new regular ambulance jobs across the province, and several new health and safety initiatives, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Paramedics and paramedics are employed by the BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), which is part of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). APADBA believes that this agreement is the positive relationship between the parties at the negotiating table and creates a solid foundation for the future of medical services in BC.