LETTERS TO EDITOR Paramedics and City must accept binding arbitration
Dear Editor, The lack of a binding arbitration agreement between the City of Cornwall and Paramedics has resulted in significantly decreased paramedic coverage in Cornwall and SD&G.
Having 2-3 ambulances on the road to cover over 3,300KM2, is unacceptable and dangerous. It’s not a matter of if preventable tragedies will strike community members, but rather a question of when and how many members?
I fear for individuals in rural communities, where access to the “taxis” and “buses” the City of Cornwall radio advertisements suggest we take to the hospital, won’t be available. Has the City forgotten that the paramedics they are responsible to oversee, also service these rural communities?
I fear for individuals in rural communities who won’t have access to life-saving, timesensitive, medical interventions, as they travel 40+ minutes to the hospital in their personal vehicles, with panicked family members, friends, neighbors – or worse, themselves - at the wheel.
I fear for individuals in rural communities who do not have access to a vehicle at all.
I fear for our children experiencing a severe allergic reaction, our siblings in serious motor vehicle accidents, our parents and grandparents going into cardiac arrest, and the list goes on… Individuals in any of these scenarios could be subjected to life- ending wait times for emergency care due to significantly decreased levels of paramedic coverage.
When employees are unionized, and a collective agreement cannot be agreed upon, the unionized employees strike. This is common knowledge. The City of Cornwall, aware of this reality, refuses to acknowledge paramedics as essential and refer negotiations to binding arbitration. Doing so would have avoided this strike. Other communities have agreed to binding arbitration – why can’t we?
Allowing paramedics to be treated as nonessential and therefore, allowing them to strike, is an insult to the profession, and threatens the well-being of Cornwall and SD&G residents.
If you have a loved one that you care about in this region, you should be outraged.
This letter is adapted from an email that was sent to the mayor and council members on Monday May 28th.the Mayor called me in response to the original email, and shared that no one else had voiced any concerns about the lower level of paramedic coverage. Please, let your Mayor and Councillors know that this is unacceptable by calling and emailing them directly to request binding arbitration. There is also a petition circulating to have paramedics recognized as an essential service at https:// www.thepetitionsite.com/658/994/931/ support-our-paramedics/?taf_ id=56361002&cid=fb_na