Ambulance paramedics play a critical role in public safety and frontline health care and should be celebrated for their tireless efforts in serving the public—even more so for their heroic sacrifice in responding to the ongoing opioid crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta said today, in observance of National Paramedic Services Week (May 23 – 29).

Paramedic Services Week is an annual recognition of the work paramedics across Canada do every day—from emergency medical call takers and dispatchers, paramedic specialists, support services and ground paramedics to air ambulance teams and community paramedics.

“Paramedics and dispatchers put themselves out there every day, serving patients and the public and helping save lives despite facing the health crises, safety concerns, and staffing shortages —all while dealing with stresses that most of us cannot imagine,” said Ranalletta. “Their work is selfless, courageous, and critical to our public safety and health care systems. They deserve our respect, our support, and our gratitude—especially for their steadfast service during a global pandemic and the overdose crisis we’ve seen in B.C.”

The 4,500 members of CUPE 873 (Ambulance Paramedics and Dispatchers of BC) work around the clock to ensure that B.C. patients get the help they need when they need it—through timely, quality and advanced medical treatment and transport to hospital.

“I am so very proud to serve and have the privilege of recognizing our members in every corner of this province this week and every week. No matter what adversity or situation they may face or encounter, our members are always ready to respond and serve,” said CUPE 873 President Troy Clifford.

“Being an ambulance paramedic and dispatcher is already one of the most stressful jobs in the world, even without COVID and the opioid crisis. Now, as we face incredible staffing and workload issues, we all see how many lives have been impacted and lost for so many. In spite of all the challenges they continue to face, our members show resilience, professionalism, and vitalness each and every day in facing those challenges head on.”