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CUPE paramedics hold demo at Ottawa city hall tomorrow


OTTAWA -  Ontario paramedics say they want what other Ontario workers get under basic provincial labour laws — designated meal breaks.

On Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 12:30 p.m., paramedics from across Ontario represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will be demonstrating on the steps of Ottawa City Hall to drive home their point that they deserve fair working conditions, including meal breaks.

Currently, many municipalities across the province, including Ottawa, have been ignoring the basic protections offered to virtually all employees in Ontario under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) by requiring paramedics to often work long hours without adequate breaks — a practice prohibited by provincial law.

The ESA represents the bare minimum working conditions for most employees in this province.

Paramedics across Ontario work hard every day in a stressful and sometimes dangerous profession because they care about saving lives and protecting their communities. Like all workers, they need time to relax and eat so they can provide the best possible patient care in any emergency,” says Michael Dick, chair of CUPE’s Ambulance Committee of Ontario (CACO) and a paramedic for more than 25 years.

Ottawa paramedics who are members of CUPE 503 have been leading the fight for fair working conditions. Recently, a labour arbitrator ordered the City of Ottawa to meet the minimum working standards, allowing paramedics a half-hour meal break for every five hours on the job. But the City of Ottawa has refused to do so. Instead, the city is asking the Courts to allow it to continue to ignore these minimum workplace standards.

Given the important job paramedics do for their communities, municipalities across Ontario — including the City of Ottawa — should be providing fair working conditions for their paramedics,” says Dick.

More than 100 Ontario paramedics represented by CUPE are in Ottawa for their annual convention and will join Dick in supporting the Ottawa paramedics at the noon hour city hall demonstration on Thursday, October 5.


For further information, please contact:

Michael Dick
Chair, CUPE’s Ambulance Committee of Ontario (CACO)
(905) 441-3117

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774