Toronto—More Ontario paramedics have been threatened by their employer with job suspensions for refusing a flu shot. Last Friday, the Peterborough Emergency Services served notice to area paramedics that any staff who have not complied with the discriminatory government legislation that mandates that paramedics receive a flu vaccine, will be suspended.
Nearly half of Peterborough’s 75 paramedic staff have not received a flu shot.
“The health minister is so preoccupied on the wanna-be Premier campaign trail that he is not fulfilling the duties of his job. He should be telling employers to keep paramedics working, to stop the suspensions and to ignore the mandatory flu shot legislation.
“Instead, he is ignoring the looming crisis in emergency services province-wide,” warns Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) who, along with several Ontario paramedics, is slated to meet with health ministry staff on Thursday, January 17 at 1:30 p.m. at 80 Grosvenor, 10th Floor, Hepburn Block. Discussion will focus on how best to avert the looming emergency services crisis. Ryan and the paramedics will be available to speak with the media after the meeting.
The Peterborough paramedics have been given until noon this Friday to comply with the legislation or they will be suspended.
“If nearly half, that’s more than 30, of the paramedics in Peterborough are told by their employer not to show up for work at the end of this week, the impact on emergency services will be tremendous. Ultimately, the responsibility for averting this crisis lies with the health minister,” says Ryan.
Many paramedics view refusing inoculations as an issue of free will and a fundamental human right. In the last month, 45 paramedics (this includes the Peterborough paramedics) have been suspended, or threatened with suspension because they believe they should have the right to choose what goes into their bodies. North Bay paramedic Bill Katsopolous, who was suspended from his job on December 22, is still standing up for his right to refuse the vaccine.
“Certainly one of the issues we will be addressing with the ministry is the reinstatement of any suspended paramedics,” says Ryan.
For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications