B.C. paramedics, government announce tentative deal after talks with veteran mediator

VANCOUVER — Ambulance paramedics and dispatchers in British Columbia have reached a tentative contract with the provincial government after mediated negotiations.

A joint statement Saturday from the Health Employers Association of B.C. and the Ambulance Paramedics and Ambulance Dispatchers Bargaining Association says the tentative deal was reached with the assistance of mediator Vince Ready.

The statement says the two sides will now allow their members to review the proposed contract, adding details of the package will not be released publicly until it is ratified.

Ambulance Paramedics of BC PresidentTroy Clifford issued a statement saying the proposed settlement will see a renewed commitment to the ambulance service, paramedics, dispatchers and patients.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C.'s ongoing toxic drug crisis and understaffing have pushed ambulance paramedics and emergency dispatchers to the brink.

Clifford says ambulance paramedics have been on the front lines of multiple B.C. disasters while more than 30 per cent of ambulances sit empty on a regular basis.

"This new agreement will help secure a significant foundation for improvement for paramedic services in B.C., and one that acknowledges the uniqueness of our service and challenges for our profession," Clifford said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2023.

The Canadian Press