Ambulance paramedics in the Cariboo will soon be voting on a new contract.
Cameron Eby, the President of the Ambulance Paramedics of BC-CUPE Local 873, says they have reached a tentative deal with the Health Employers’ Association of BC.
Eby says it will address one of the key issues facing rural and remote areas of the province…
“Most of the stations are staffed on an on-call basis so most of the paramedics are at home or at the station receiving a stipend or two dollars an hour or about 12 dollars an hour to be ready for a call and then they’re paid their actual paramedic rate when they get a call, so that just isn’t reliable because you don’t know when you’re going to get a call and when you’re not going to get a call.”
Eby says compounding that is the fact that it now takes a significant investment to get the education needed to become a licensed paramedic.
He says a different model is being used in larger centers like Vancouver.
Eby says he can’t go into details about the tentative deal until after it is ratified by the members, something he expects will happen in mid to late September.
There are 82 full and part-time paramedics in the Cariboo, 36 in Williams Lake, 24 in 100 Mile House and 22 in Quesnel.
He says 100 Mile is used as a hub station to facilitate patient transfers from communities.
Eby says they were at the negotiating table for about seven months, beginning in early January, and talks wrapped up last week in mid July.
The bargaining committee, which included several rural representatives including Quesnel, is recommending acceptance.