B.C. paramedics’ effort to be named essential service fails

Members didn’t gather the required number of signatures from each electoral riding to trigger further action

An effort by paramedics to be deemed an essential service and get the same collective bargaining rights as firefighters and police officers has failed.

Despite receiving more than 215,000 signatures during three months of canvassing across B.C., the petition didn’t meet a requirement of 10-per-cent support from each electoral district, Elections BC said in a release.

Paramedics had been looking for the right to go to binding arbitration, rather than having to go on strike, should they hit an impasse while negotiating a new contract with their employer.

Enough signatures would have referred the matter to MLAs or to a province-wide vote.

RELATED: Paramedics’ petition to be deemed essential service finds support

The Victoria paramedic behind the petition, Josh Henshaw, said not enough names were collected in Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna.

Henshaw suspects they didn’t have enough canvassers in those areas because paramedics there are “stretched the thinnest.”

“When you get slammed hard at work for four days or nights and then get called in on your days off,” Henshaw said, “it’s tough to find the time to canvass as well. We were stuck in a bit of a catch-22 there.”

Although the petition failed, Henshaw said he’s optimistic about the group’s next steps.

“I think most people know that this petition was basically run by me out of my own home on a shoestring budget, and to return 215,192 signatures to Elections BC in 90 days is a significant accomplishment,” he said.

Henshaw says he plans to ride the wave of public support during the next four weeks of B.C. election campaigning.

“I’m very confident that we will get fair bargaining before the next round of negotiations begins.”


@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rossland library gets rave reviews on renovation

A lot of hard work led to this day, says a library board member

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Olympian Rhoda Wurtele visits Fernie; reveals secret to skiing at 97

Rhoda Wurtele and her identical twin sister Rhona represented Canada at the 1948 Olympics

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

East Kootenay illicit drug overdose deaths lowest in B.C.

Local expert credits harm reduction efforts; declares support for legalization of opioids

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read