TORONTO — The CUPE Ambulance Committee of Ontario (CACO) has called on the Liberal Government to fix Bill 206, the bill that makes changes to the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) pension plan.
“Bill 206 will prevent paramedics from ever being able to negotiate the same retirement benefits as police and firefighters,” says Mike Dick, CACO chair. “The bill is bad for paramedics and bad for the public.”
As paramedics age, their ability to perform their duties can become diminished. This can be difficult for the men and women who perform the work, but more importantly, it can be dangerous for the public. Allowing paramedics to retire earlier like police and firefighters is good public policy, Dick said.
The federal government recognized this fact when it recently amended the Income Tax Act to include paramedics in the Public Safety Occupation group, he said. The change lets pension plans offer benefits that allow paramedics, along with police, firefighters, air traffic controllers, correctional officers and commercial airline pilots, to retire earlier without penalty. However, under Bill 206 as it now stands, it will be next to impossible to implement the Income Tax Act provisions for paramedics in Ontario, Dick said.
“Paramedics deserve to be treated with the same respect as police and firefighters. The public values the work of paramedics, why doesn’t the government?” Dick said.
These discriminatory provisions are among CUPE’s issues with Bill 206, along with the unprecedented requirement for a two-thirds majority vote in order to make changes to the OMERS plan, said CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan.
“We are calling on the McGuinty government to stop Bill 206 and let us sit down with the employers, who are also opposed to this bill, so we can fix these problems and get a fair pension plan,” Ryan said.
For more information, contact:
Mike Dunn, CUPE Ambulance Committee of Ontario, 905-441-3117
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-299-9739 ext 264