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Kenora District paramedics, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 5911 members, are urging the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) not to contract out non-emergency services to a private company.  The paramedics are also asking residents to contact their KDSB members to ask that they vote to keep public services public.

Our members are extremely concerned about the consequences of contracting out public services, said Keith Hunt, president of CUPE 5911.  “Our experience at CUPE, and remember we are the largest union in Canada with members from coast to coast to coast, is that, when public services are contracted out, it is the public that suffers.”

Private companies’ first priority is the bottom line, to make a profit. Time and again, in communities across Canada, when public services are taken over by private companies, the service suffers.  The private company must make a profit and, as a result, CUPE research reveals that user fees often go up, and services are scaled back or reduced to increase the profit margin.

As paramedics, we are concerned for the safety, health and well-being of this community; this is our community, we live here too.  We strongly believe that public money—your money, my money, tax-payers’ money—should go to support public services that help our clients and not to make a profit for a private company, one that may not even be owned by members of our community.

We are asking KDSB to keep all the paramedic services public, including non-emergency transfer services.  This is work we have always done and that we should continue to do.

While frequently there are no emergencies when transferring a senior from a nursing home to hospital, a patient to be airlifted, or doing the long-distance transfers, there are times when experienced and knowledgeable paramedics were suddenly required to use their skills—skills that will not exist if non-emergency transfers are contracted out,” Hunt said.

We are also suggesting that, if members of the public want to keep our services for their loved ones and possibly themselves in future, they contact their KDSB representatives and tell them their concerns.”

For more information, please contact:

Keith Hunt                     President, CUPE 5911                              807-737-0419
Danny Scheibli               CUPE National Representative                  416-659-6648
Wendy Forbes               CUPE Communications Representative      416-892-8716