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HEARST, ON – Hearst area paramedics, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are warning residents that planned layoffs and ambulance service cuts will jeopardize the health and safety of Northerners.

Hearst and surrounding communities are about to lose half their local paramedics and there will be no paramedics on duty at night if planned service cuts go ahead,” said Fran Ludwick, CUPE National Representative. “Provincial funding has fallen to 32% of the cost of ambulances services in the area, compared to the promised 50% level at the time of downloading to the municipal level – it looks like once again the people of the North are being treated as second class citizens by the province.” Other northern communities are facing similar cuts.

CUPE has received layoff notices for three full-time paramedics and part-time hours will be cut at the Notre Dame Hospital in Hearst. Of particular concern is a move to replace the night shift with on-call service. “Having to rely on on-call service will reduce response times and cause delays in emergency care,” said Ludwick. “Ambulance services are an essential service and should not be relegated to on-call status – would we rely on on-call police services? It’s a recipe for disaster.”

CUPE is holding a news conference with local MPP Gilles Bisson, on Friday, October 28th, at 2:00 pm, at the Compagnon Hotel Motel, 930 Front Street in Hearst, to discuss the pending ambulance service cuts and the impact they will have on local communities. Representatives of the media are invited to attend and CUPE representatives will be available for questions and interviews.

WHO: Gilles Bisson, NDP MPP
CUPE representative and members of Local 3549
WHAT: News conference
on planned ambulance cuts and community impact
WHEN: Friday, October 28th
2:00 pm
WHERE: Compagnon Hotel Motel
930 Front Street
Hearst, Ontario

For further information, please contact:

Fran Ludwick
CUPE national representative
Timmins Office
(705) 264-1269

Robert Lamoureux
CUPE communications
(416) 292-3999