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Labour Relations Board to rule on paramedic agreement

Dec. 19, 2011, Toronto – Toronto paramedics say they want recognition as an essential service and CUPE Local 416 has offered the City of Toronto an essential service agreement, which will keep 100 per cent of the city's paramedics and their support staff at work.

December 19, 2011
By Fire Fighting in Canada

Dec. 19, 2011, Toronto – Toronto paramedics say they want recognition as an essential service and CUPE Local 416 has offered the City of Toronto an essential service agreement, which will keep 100 per cent of the city's paramedics and their support staff at work.

The union's only provision is to allow the paramedics the ability to go to a fair arbitration system -– the same as police, fire and the Toronto Transit Commission.

The City of Toronto has turned down the union and is taking the union to the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

The paramedics union said in a press release Sunday that it is outraged.

"Paramedics demand to know why the City of Toronto wants to treat them differently than police, fire and TTC, who are all essential services with arbitration," said Roberta Scott, the former public relations director of the Toronto Paramedic Association (TPA), and one of the paramedics who has been pushing this issue with the city and the province.

The union said in the release that when Scott was the public relations director of the TPA, she asked then-mayoral candidate Rob Ford about essential service live on the CP24 mayoral debate in October 2010.

"I believe they should be an essential service. And I want to assure them that when I'm mayor, we will make it an essential service,” Ford said.

"And if they're going to make a bit more money for doing it – I have never had a person come up and say, ‘Rob, I object to paying paramedics, firefighters or police more money.’ This is where the money should be spent, and I have no problem paying our officers, or our firefighters or our paramedics good money to do a job," Ford said.

Toronto paramedics said in the release that they want mayor to live up to his promise, and for the City of Toronto to give them the same recognition and respect that the other emergency services have as an essential service, including arbitration.

“All we are asking the city for is fair and reasonable treatment in the ESA process: To be given the recognition of a true essential service – like police, fire and TTC – with a fair arbitration system,” the union said in the release.