An ambulance travels so fast it is a blurB.C.’s 4,500 ambulance paramedics and emergency medical dispatchers have voted to ratify a new three-year collective agreement, signing off on a tentative agreement reached on July 19 between the Health Employers Association of BC  and the Ambulance Paramedics & Ambulance Dispatchers Bargaining Association of BC (APADBA).

The new agreement is the first stand-alone, collectively bargained contract for B.C. ambulance paramedics and dispatchers since 2004. It contains general wage increases of 2 per cent each year, hundreds of new regular paramedic jobs across the province, and a number of new health and safety initiatives. It also ensures compliance with the new ‘meet or exceed’ requirements of the Employment Standards Act by the end of March 2022.  The new agreement will be applied retroactively to April 1, 2019, with many changes scheduled to be implemented immediately or in the coming months.

“This new collective agreement introduces perhaps the most significant changes our workplace has ever seen in a single period of bargaining,” said CUPE 873 (Ambulance Paramedics of BC) President Cameron Eby. “We’re now on a path to create regular, family supporting paramedics jobs in every community in B.C., while ensuring reliable emergency coverage for our patients.”

Over the course of seven months at the bargaining table, the parties reached agreement on more than 80 proposals—a number, said Eby, that represents a massive amount of progress in modernizing the collective agreement.

The APADBA believes this agreement represents the positive relationship between the parties at the bargaining table and establishes a solid foundation from which continued growth will secure the future of paramedic services in B.C.

Eby thanked the entire bargaining team and the CUPE 873 office staff for their hard work during the negotiations, and members across the province for signing off on the new contract.