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Toronto paramedics push to be essential service

Oct. 19, 2010, Toronto - With the municipal election only days away, the Toronto Paramedic Association would like to raise a very important election issue to all council and mayoral candidates, as well as to the voters in the City of Toronto.

October 19, 2010
By Carey Fredericks

Toronto paramedics are still not deemed an essential service like police officers and firefighters. In the event of another city strike like
last summer, Toronto paramedics will again be forced to work at only
75 per cent of our normal compliment, and this could mean the difference
between life and death for millions of people. This fact is of great
concern to the Toronto Paramedic Association, as it should be for
everyone who lives in this city.

The Toronto Paramedic Association believes that on a regular basis and
not withstanding a strike situation, the number of ambulances and paramedic crews on duty and available to service emergency calls in
Toronto is already dangerously low. Therefore in a strike situation, at
75 per cent staffing, we are very concerned that we will not be able to keep
our response times to critical life and death emergency calls at an
acceptable and safe level.

This situation will put lives at risk, and as medical professionals and
patient care advocates we are speaking out in hopes that the new
council and mayor will not let this continue. Toronto paramedics are
asking for the support of the public, our new city council and mayor to
finally assure the safety of the city, by making essential service
status for paramedics a priority issue in this election. By designating
Toronto paramedics an essential service, the same as police officers
and firefighters, this new city council will finally be reassuring all
citizens of Toronto that if and when a medical emergency happens to
them, they can have absolute confidence that they will always receive
the life saving skills of a highly trained paramedic in time.

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