CUPE paramedics met with MPPs at Queen's ParkCUPE Paramedics met with MPPs at Queen’s Park today to bring attention to the ongoing underfunding of emergency medical services in Ontario.

“Shortages of ambulances and staff, lack of hospital capacity, and heavy workloads are all things our members face on a daily basis, and underfunding from the provincial government is continuing to make things even worse,” said Niko Georgiadis, Chair of the Cupe Ambulance Committee of Ontario (CACO). “Today, we came to Queen’s Park to share our experiences as workers with MPPs and present solutions on how the government can fix some of the issues we face as front-line workers every day.”

Workers in the sector are facing increasingly high levels of stress and burnout, which has in turn led to a recruitment and retention crisis as workers exit the profession or take leaves due to a lack of available mental health supports. There is also a shortage of new paramedics and dispatchers, with numbers from the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs showing an anticipated need of 1,100-1,200 new paramedics annually, while only around 700 expected to be trained by colleges annually over the next two years.

“Our members save lives and provide vital emergency services that people depend on,” said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, who joined the workers at Queen’s Park. “They want to be able to provide the best care possible, but consistent underfunding, low wages and short-staffing has led to deteriorating working conditions that are putting the health and safety of people across Ontario at risk.”

At today’s meeting, workers offered government and opposition MPPs ways to help ensure that people in Ontario would have access to an ambulance when they need one, including:

  • a provincial staffing strategy for emergency services
  • more investment in first responders’ mental health
  • permanent funding for an expanded community paramedicine program
  • leadership from the province, which can and must increase funding for urgent care.

“We can’t wait any longer, it’s time for the government to stop underfunding emergency services and make significant investments to ensure that paramedics are able to continue providing high quality services,” said Georgiadis. “Paramedics deserve better pay and working conditions, and Ontarians deserve to know that emergency services will be there when they need them.”

Learn more about the issues facing paramedics at