(1) 250.472.8528
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

Today in the legislature I introduced a private member’s bill titled First Responders Act, 2017. This Bill amends the Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act to include paramedics and emergency dispatchers.

As it stands now, paramedics are not considered to be an essential service. By including them in the collective bargaining act, we would eliminate labour disputes and the use of strikes or lockouts. Instead, this bill would give them the ability to resolve disputes through binding arbitration.

It would help paramedics and dispatchers – and it would help the public. In fact, BC paramedics have been asking for this change. Elections BC recently approved their petition for the Initiative to Amend the Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act to include ambulance service paramedics and dispatchers.

Below are the video and text of the introduction of my bill together with our accompanying media release.


Video of Introduction



Text of Introduction


A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled First Responders Act, 2017, of which notice has been given, be introduced and read a first time now.

Motion approved.

A. Weaver: I’m pleased to be introducing a bill intituled the First Responders Act, 2017. This bill amends the existing fire and police services Collective Bargaining Act to also include paramedics and emergency dispatchers, giving them the same collective bargaining rights as other first responders.

As it stands now, paramedics are not considered as an essential service. By including them in the Collective Bargaining Act, we would eliminate labour disputes and the use of strikes or lockouts. Instead, this bill would give them the ability to solve disputes through binding arbitration. It would help paramedics and dispatchers, and it would help the public.

As citizens, we owe the first responders sincere gratitude for helping us in times of crisis. As members of the Legislative Assembly, we are shamefully indebted to them for leaving them to shoulder the weight of a horrific drug overdose epidemic. We allowed them to become overworked while under-supported. I hope that this bill will begin to repair that strain, and it represents a proactive attempt to deal with the initiative that has been brought forward by Elections B.C.

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Bill M217, First Responders Act, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.


Media Release


VICTORIA B.C. – “Paramedics and emergency dispatchers are an essential service, and should be treated as such,” says Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party.

“As citizens, we owe first responders sincere gratitude for helping us in times of crisis.
We are indebted to them as they’ve had to shoulder the additional weight of a horrific drug overdose epidemic. We allowed them to become overworked while under supported. I hope that this bill will begin to repair that strain.”

Today in the B.C. Legislature MLA Weaver will table a bill intituled the First Responders Act, 2017. The bill amends the existing Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act to also include paramedics and emergency dispatchers, giving them the same collecting bargaining rights as other first responders. It fulfills the changes called for in a petition issue by paramedics through Elections B.C.

“As it stands now, paramedics are not considered as an essential service. By including them in the collective bargaining act, we would eliminate labour disputes and the use of strikes or lockouts. Instead, this bill would give them the ability to resolve disputes through binding arbitration.

“The amendments in this Act would help paramedics and dispatchers – and it would help the public.”

– 30 –

Media contact
Mat Wright, Press Secretary
+1 250-216-3382 | mat.wright@leg.bc.ca

18 Comments

  1. bc paramedic-Reply
    July 2, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Mr Weaver,

    Now that the NDP-Green coalition has secured government, what action will be taken to ensure status for BC’s Paramedics and Dispatchers as Emergency Services under the Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act?

    Regards
    A BC Paramedic

  2. Doina Lazar-Reply
    February 23, 2017 at 10:16 am

    I first heard about the fact that BC Ambulance is not considered an essential service about a month ago and I couldn’t believe it. How is that possible? It is an essential service, one that saves life. Absolutely commendable the proposal!

  3. Mike Weeber-Reply
    February 22, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    There is no doubt paramedics are an essential service. It amazes me how little they are getting paid to do such a stressful job in rural communities. Paramedics are a part of society’s safety net working together with Police and fire. They work together and should be in the same bargaining group together. Thank you for realizing this and doing the right thing.

  4. David Suderman-Reply
    February 21, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    As a Charge Dispatcher from Kamloops, I say thank you for doing this

  5. Scott MacKenzie-Reply
    February 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I feel that these people are trained to do a job that most people are not able to do. They have to do it in all kinds of weather and have to be able to respond to whatever the situation is as fast as possible because someone’s life may depend on them to be able to do there job efficiently. This takes quite a toll on their body not to mention how it can affect their mind.
    To class them with persons that sit behind a desk with no physical toll on theirs bodies just doesn’t seem fair. Many of them have to leave the job because of injuries sustained on the job.
    My vote is to class them all with other essential forces including police, firepersons as well as the people that fight for our freedom. Scott

  6. David-Reply
    February 21, 2017 at 10:33 am

    As a Paramedic for BCEHS, I can’t begin to tell you the strain of how over worked we are, I thank you for your leadership on taking a lead on this issue.

  7. Robert Penner-Reply
    February 21, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Dear Mr. Weaver. As a Paramedic and a citizen of British Columbia I would like to personally thank you for introducing bill M217. A bill which amends the act to include Paramedics and Dispatchers along with our fellow first responders (Fire Fighters and Police) as essential service. This Bill is long overdue.

  8. Laurie McPhee-Reply
    February 21, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Thank you so much Mr Weaver, it’s time that common sense prevail in this issue.

  9. Mona-Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    yes, yes, yes! They are most certainly a necessary service. They work hand in hand with the police and firefighters in most emergencies. Where would we be if we didn’t have them? Lost and scrambling to take our loved ones to the hospital ourselves and putting other people at risk because we are panicking. They are an essential service!

    Please pass this bill!

  10. John-Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    As a British Columbian and a paramedic I thank you so much Mr. Weaver!

  11. Bill-Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Good idea, or just let the fire departments take over.

    • Andy Sibbald-Reply
      February 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      They are absolutely an essential service. What if they stopped operating for a day. The fact that the government would not allow this through legislating them back to work makes this clear.

    • Neil-Reply
      February 20, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      The suggestion to just let firefighters take over does not take into consideration the large number of BC residents who do not live within the protection of a full time fire department. These individuals are currently served by members of the ambulance service who sacrifice a great deal to serve these often overlooked portions of the province. Any reservation to include them with other emergency services is a strictly financial decision and should be viewed as an admission by our government that your health is not worth the investment.

  12. Julia Strain-Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! Please support this bill and support YOUR Province, YOUR paramedics in helping them to become an ESSENTIAL service!!

  13. Maureen Anderson-Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Thank You for introducing this bill to the Legislature. In the 20 years I was a Paramedic, we were told that we were “essential” services. There are a number of us “old timers” who believed that we were. You call 911 and the response is ” Police, Fire or Ambulance”, thus keeping the thought going.
    It’s about time that this happened.

  14. Cameron Bailey-Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Mr. Weaver, Thank you so very much for introducing this Bill. One can only hope the rest of the House agrees with you and will go for speedy passage of this important legislation. It has been a long time coming and, again, I thank you very much for doing this for the Paramedics and Dispatchers!

  15. Jason-Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Mr.Weaver,

    I applaud your BILL M217! This is a huge oversight on the part of a government.

  16. Dale Stanley-Reply
    February 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    It’s about time!

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