B.C. paramedics’ effort to be named essential service fails

Members didn’t gather the required number of signatures from each electoral riding to trigger further action

An effort by paramedics to be deemed an essential service and get the same collective bargaining rights as firefighters and police officers has failed.

Despite receiving more than 215,000 signatures during three months of canvassing across B.C., the petition didn’t meet a requirement of 10-per-cent support from each electoral district, Elections BC said in a release.

Paramedics had been looking for the right to go to binding arbitration, rather than having to go on strike, should they hit an impasse while negotiating a new contract with their employer.

Enough signatures would have referred the matter to MLAs or to a province-wide vote.

RELATED: Paramedics’ petition to be deemed essential service finds support

The Victoria paramedic behind the petition, Josh Henshaw, said not enough names were collected in Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna.

Henshaw suspects they didn’t have enough canvassers in those areas because paramedics there are “stretched the thinnest.”

“When you get slammed hard at work for four days or nights and then get called in on your days off,” Henshaw said, “it’s tough to find the time to canvass as well. We were stuck in a bit of a catch-22 there.”

Although the petition failed, Henshaw said he’s optimistic about the group’s next steps.

“I think most people know that this petition was basically run by me out of my own home on a shoestring budget, and to return 215,192 signatures to Elections BC in 90 days is a significant accomplishment,” he said.

Henshaw says he plans to ride the wave of public support during the next four weeks of B.C. election campaigning.

“I’m very confident that we will get fair bargaining before the next round of negotiations begins.”


@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

Rumble In The Rockies brings live boxing back to Fernie

Local boxer, Dylan Mitchell takes first career win at home

Smiles all around as province announces emergency ward funding

$2.1 million to go to much-needed upgrades

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

BC husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

Couple presented with Vital Link Awards for quick use of CPR

154 remote B.C. communities to get high-speed internet

Government funding to bring subsea fiber optic cable to connect people on the coast

Kelowna West byelection called for Feb. 14

Four candidate race to replace departed former B.C. premier Christy Clark

Bank of Canada hikes interest rate to 1.25%, cites strong economic data

The rate increase is expected to prompt Canada’s large banks to raise their prime lending rates

Trump aces mental aptitude test designed by Canadian immigrant

“This is a good example, I think, that will be helpful to change views about immigration. And maybe for Mr. Trump himself to consider immigrants as contributors to advancing science, advancing our societies.”

Rival Koreas agree to form first unified Olympic team

The rival Koreas took major steps toward reducing their bitter animosity

Canada, U.S. lead call for sanctions against North Korea

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting in Vancouver to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula

Most Read