Real Change? Madam Premier, the Paramedics are Waiting

Apppointed (not elected) Premier Christy Clark promised “change”. And as part of her honeymoon period in the public eye, the media has treaded rather softly in scrutinizing her early days in office.

She announced a raise in the minimum wage … to be staged over time, but nevertheless welcomed by most British Columbians. Many were embarrassed by this rich province, with some of the highest living costs,  having the lowest minimum wage in the country for far too long. So one of former premier Gordon Campbell’s most disgraceful legacies will soon be history. Good.

Clark also announced the government would give back to community groups $15 million of the $36 million Campbell had stripped from the community gaming grant pot. This is important money for  parent advisory groups, social agencies, arts and sports groups and other community organizations. Good.

And the referendum on the HST will be moved up to June instead of the previously-scheduled September vote.  Good.

But these three moves have one thing in common: they are all easy, stroke of the pen decisions, likely to draw public approval without Clark really getting her hands dirty in the muck of previous provincial government decisions and operations.

It’s time for Clark to start taking on tougher tasks.

And I don’t think there’s a better place for her to start than wading into the swamp surrounding the disgraceful treatment of the province’s paramedics by the Campbell government and its minions.

I have written about this many times before. (Search my site under “paramedics” for a full read.)

And as I have said before, I have no idea what a fair wage and fair working conditions would be for BC’s paramedics in both urban and rural communities.

But I do KNOW one thing …to take away ANY public servants’ right to strike or protest or even negotiate an agreement, and IMPOSE a legislated settlement WITHOUT MANDATORY BINDING ARBITRATION is simply wrong. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

And that’s exactly what happened to BC’s paramedics in Nov. 2009 under Bill 21.

It is dictatorship at its worst.  Denial of fairness and justice.

BC is not Wisconsin; BC is not governed by right-wing  Republican or Tea Party extremists; most British Columbians of every political stripe  DO have a sense of fairness and justice. And to force people to work under imposed working conditions, wages and lack of basic rights is simply wrong.

Clark talks of “change”?  Clark speaks of her concerns for “BC families”?

Well, Madam Premier, BC paramedics have families too.

Get your hands dirty; take on a REAL challenge; wade into the swamp where paramedics’ rights were dumped by your predecessor.

Then we’ll know you’re serious about making a real difference.

Harv Oberfeld

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41 Responses to Real Change? Madam Premier, the Paramedics are Waiting

  1. Grant G says:

    Sorry to say Harvey O…

    Don`t know what rock you have been living under but we do live..

    Under right wing Republican rule, the name may be Liberal but the policies are those of Ronnie Raygun and George Bush..

    Unless you think tearing up contracts, giving our assets away for nothing and privatizing BC Hydro and BC Ferries is Democratic…

    Gag laws..Gerry mandering, Voting restrictions, freedom of information gutted, courts so effing expensive Joe Average can`t file a suit, MLAs like Kash Heed hiding behind the BC Supreme court..

    Financial assaults on seniors and students and the debted middle class…

    If this is what you call a Province of the center…Well.

    Good luck with that.

  2. diverdarren says:

    It’s only fair. When the government is the employer, and swings the hammer of “back to work legislation” Labour disputes should automatically be sent to independent binding arbitation.

    It’s a simple case of conflict of interest for an employer to use its legislative power to compel its workers to work. This principle of workplace fairness needs to be a right, on par with the other enshrined rights we all enjoy, and this goes for all the direct and quasi BC employees: teachers, ferry crew, hospital cleaners ect.

    Of course if their are any Crown Counselors out there in this blog I’m sure they are laughing (bitterly) at this naive solution. In ’04 the leaned counselors received a arbitration decision for 13% pay increase, and the Gordo/Cristy government sent it back to binding arbitration. And promptly got a “binding” decision of 13% pay raise retro back to “03 for the Prosecutors. The government’s response; Crown Counsel Agreement Continuation Act. A law that says 0% for three years then a 13% increase, plus making it illegal to strike.

    So the lesson to be learned; The Liberals need a dictionary to look up the word binding, just like they could have used a dictionary for the word contract.

  3. cherylb says:

    BC Paramedics LOOK AFTER our families. Do something about it Christy.

  4. C Eby says:

    Thank you for your support!!

  5. Barry says:

    “BC is not Wisconsin; BC is not governed by right-wing Republican or Tea Party extremists”

    Ah Harve, remember one of the first thing Campbell did upon taking power is rip up HEU contracts. Then there was freezing the minimum wage for nearly a decade. The right wing in this province does not believe in anything but their bottom lime.

    (Response: Yes… but unlike Wisconsin, Campbell’s actions were illegal..and the province paid back $85 million to the unfairly treated workers. h.o)

  6. RV Knudson says:

    Has not the BC Ambulance Service been restored to a normal bargaining position? Or is your point that the province should not act during a potential health emergency, the H1N1 pandemic?

    According to Bill 21 “This Act and the collective agreement constituted under it expire on March 31, 2010.” Then on March 11, 2010 the Ministry of Health Services announced a new ambulance service model for the BC Ambulance Service. Under the new model, the BC Ambulance Service will be integrated more closely with the health-care system.

    (Response: Until a new agreement is worked out (or imposed in BC) any collective agreement REMAINS IN FORCE even after it officially expires. As for your suggestion the government had to act because of the H1N1 ..what hogwash! I know of no flu anywhere in the world that has been cured by an imposed contract!!! And to suggest BC paramedics might have left ANY sick or injured people abandoned, and refuse to transport them, because they had no contract or were ordered to mediation or abitration is almost libellous. h.o)

  7. Doug P says:

    Your bang on with this Harvey. Hope readers take note and pass it on to their neighbourshere in BC on and off line.

  8. Greg says:

    Thank You.

    -A BC Paramedic.

  9. Dora says:

    Thanks Harvey for keeping this in the forefront.

    A BC Paramedic Wife

  10. Cory S says:

    Thank you, Harvey!

    Re RV Knudson: “Has not the BC Ambulance Service been restored to a normal bargaining position?”

    No, we have not yet been allowed to bargain freely, pending our rollover into a new “Bargaining Unit”. There are no current negotiations and we are in no position to call a strike vote, despite the fact that the imposed extension of the 12th C.A. has expired.

    I am currently training to a higher licence “out-of-province” and deciding whether or not to go back at all. I am facing the prospect of five years of zeroes … for the most expensive city in Canada, this is utterly unacceptable.

  11. Jason says:

    RV, please tell me you’re not that naive to take everything politicians say at face value. Do you really think that the H1N1 (which had no bearing on call volume) was a factor in forcing us paramedics back to work? Hmm, or perhaps that leaked memo from the Olympics threatening to yank the Games unless BC gets paramedics back to work (which we were already doing, just not under contract). I have a copy of it if you or H.O. want to see it.

    And for the record, even though the government tossed paramedics away from being ’emergency workers’ into ‘healthcare workers’, that doesn’t mean the government has stopped beating down on paramedics. The government stripped our union’s ability to represent us in contract talks, and ever since the ‘transition’ to another union that will represent us instead everything is dragged up in the Labour Relations Board and now the government is trying to extend the current contract terms till 2012 (minus any wage increases).

    In the meantime, you have many hardworking paramedics (such as myself) leaving for greener pastures in comparable provinces (Albert, Ontario) that pay 30% better and you feel a bit of respect. You can think ‘go ahead and leave’, but you would fail to realize that there aren’t many people lining up to work for $2/hr for 4 years or so just in hopes of eventually getting some full time work.

    In short, the imposed contract is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the government has torn apart the paramedic profession, and it continues today – just without any publicity and behind closed doors.

  12. Kathryn says:

    Harvey, your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    Two BC Paramedics and their family.

  13. T.D. says:

    Thank you sir for this! I am one of those Paramedics… awaiting a contract and waiting in ongoing fear of what they will do to our pensions etc..I am not a greedy person, fairness seems ever so elusive to us and has been every contract we accepted minimal “because we are in hard times”. Well sir… now we and the people of British Columbia are in DIRE times. The obvious disdain and contempt that the government has held us in and has treated us with in the last few years is now rearing it’s ugly head… those of us with too much time to leave are watching the retirement countdown clock tick… those that can are jumping out at an alarming rate versus the hiring that is being done. The students that are taking their training as PCP paramedics are NOT interested in being hired for $2.00 an hour and sitting in a remote community like Tofino or the multitude across this province; waiting for a call so they can actually make $24.00 an hour for their 3 hours. Sometimes those calls don’t come in on their shifts and they land up paying more to commute to these small communities than they make while there. No sir, these students are smart and are heading across this country and writing the licensing exams in other provinces that will give them a FULL TIME job! What a concept! Our wonderfully trained students ( after all, our program out here is so good that the Military medics and SAR techs take it and are precepted by us!)are leaving for better options in other provinces and industry jobs up North. Can’t blame them! I am 46yrs old… mortgaged and single… Full time with the ambulance service and although I still believe I have the BEST job in the world at what I do…. man! the treatment we get SUCKS!So I am sorry for my poor grammar! But I wanted to say THANK YOU for not forgetting us! Our hope is the public hasn’t either, Our ranks are thinning and they will always need us.

  14. J.H. says:

    Thanks Harv for keeping us alive in the media. I wonder if she’ll support us as much as she did on her old talk show ? time will tell, I love your rants, keep up the good work, waiting for more !

  15. ML says:

    Thank you so much! Just knowing that at least one person out there “gets it” brings some piece of mind.

  16. D. M. Johnston says:

    Being a recent customer of the BC Paramedics and ambulance service, I say they should be treated with fairness and integrity.

    They were the one who picked me off the floor and whisked me to the local emergency. It was a paramedic who found a spider bite, that may have caused my rash attempt to join the bucket club.

    They do the dirty work – too dirty in fact the the prem-elect to give them a fair shake!

    When one sees that Translink’s chief spin doctor is paid over $160,000 a year (yes that’s right) or Hahn, the ferry chap, is paid $1 million annually, I think that the BC paramedics must receive fair and appropriate pay.

  17. cherylb says:

    Introducing Christy Crunch

  18. RV Knudson says:

    Perhaps you will let me respond to some of the comments directed to me.

    “Until a new agreement is worked out (or imposed in BC) any collective agreement REMAINS IN FORCE even after it officially expires.”


    “As for your suggestion the government had to act because of the H1N1 ..what hogwash! I know of no flu anywhere in the world that has been cured by an imposed contract!!!”

    I did not state that the flu would be cured by an imposed contract. However, there certainly was worry and concern by the public, doctors and various levels of government about H1N1. Remember all the press coverage? Remember the line ups for immunization. Remember the TV spots advertising the need to get immunization shots and other health cautions?

    “And to suggest BC paramedics might have left ANY sick or injured people abandoned, and refuse to transport them, because they had no contract or were ordered to mediation or arbitration is almost libelous.

    This statement is also untrue. Do you not remember some members of CUPE 873 refused to do their mandatory overtime shifts despite the terms of the essential services order causing BCAS managers to work upward of 80 hours per week during the strike?

    Jason observes: “…there aren’t many people lining up to work for $2/hr for 4 years or so just in hopes of eventually getting some full time work.”

    Part time work is the starting condition of BC’s Emergency medical responders as it is with many jobs. If you improve your qualifications or transfer into Dispatch it will take less time to get a full time position.

    Some paramedics prefer a pager shift which as you state is $2 an hour. The paramedic must answer a page by calling dispatch within two minutes but there is no requirement to arrive at the station within a set time. Therefore they can have a full time job albeit one that they can quickly leave. Each call-out generates a minimum of four hours of pay, as long as the crew returns to the station before each successive call. In busier stations, due to this tiering effect, paramedics can make more money in a shift than a full time employee working the same number of hours.

    “…perhaps that leaked memo from the Olympics threatening to yank the Games unless BC gets paramedics back to work”

    Are you referring to this excerpt: “VANOC Medical Services (and thus the IOC) requires definitive confirmation by Oct 1 2009 that all required ambulance services will be provided as planned. These services include the ability to engage the VCs and BCAS members in full venue planning as soon as possible. This confirmation must also include a guarantee that no services during the Games will be disrupted or reduced from what has been planned. If we are unable to obtain that guarantee (through either settlement of the strike or a legislated “detente” for the Games), then VANOC will be required to initiate contingency plans to avoid cancellation of the Games.” If so, I see that VANOC needed only to have a contingency plan in place. That plan could have been to recruit out of province ambulance service employees who might volunteer their services or contract with a private service provider.

    “…you have many hardworking paramedics (such as myself) leaving for greener pastures in comparable provinces” That is unfortunate but it is your right to change employment if you can find someone to hire you. The public school teachers regularly express this sentiment however there seems to be no lack of replacements (if any great numbers have actually left).

  19. 13 says:

    While I have defended most of Gordos dictatorial behavior I agree that the Liberals should take a refresher course on contract law and collective bargaining. If Christy doesnt figure this out asap we will end up with another term of NDP lack of leadership. She will have to make nice with all of her public sector unions and her skillls to negotiate will be taxed to the max. If she doesnt get it right we will all be taxed to the max.

  20. Cory S says:

    RV Knudson does seem to have some facts at hand … more than a member of the general public would be expected to have. Interesting. However, he also only tells half-truths. I won’t go into all the points he makes but I will invite H.O. to allow us to trade contact information. I will say this: I don’t know anyone who would prefer a $2.00/hr pager shift over a fully-paid shift. It may be ‘theoretically’ true that part-time “paramedics can make more money in a shift than a full time employee working the same number of hours” and it may actually occur on occasion, it is far from usual and certainly not regular. In fact, the ‘busier’ stations are liklier to not have that particular shift pattern.

    (Response: If RV reads this and tells me to give you the e-mail address privately, I will do so. h.o)

  21. Diesel0027 says:

    I have yet to meet anyone in the ambulance service who took the job with the expectation of making six figures a year. I have however met many paramedics who went into their careers hoping to be of service to their communities and their province. Many of the paramedics that I have talked to don’t agree with the call out system and would prefer to be paid a descent hourly wage. I have alot of respect for Paramedics and what they do just as I have alot of respect for Firemen, and Police officers for the jobs that they do. Each and every one of these professionals has a calling inside of them to help people. Is it fair because Paramedics are willing to do the job for little pay in some cases that we should exploit their love and passion for helping people to balance a budget. Times are hard and I understand no on wants to hand out money. But why should the people who look after our communities and province take the hit. How much different would the province be right now if Campbell and camp had put the money they striped away from the province back into the province instead of their own pockets with pay raises and pensions.

    Harvey keep up the good work.

  22. eleven-o-four says:

    I signed up during the strike with the Liberal Party… so that I received their online propoganda and knew what lies they were spreading.

    I received an email from the Liberal Party today which stated in part, “Dear Supporter,

    It’s only been a month and the NDP is already trying to stop Premier Christy Clark from putting families first in British Columbia. This would mean a freeze on our plan to increase the minimum wage and a stop to our addition of $15-million to community grants and family support programs.

    The BC Liberal Party needs you as part of our team to bring the NDP’s reckless strategy to an end. We need to stop their unfounded assault on our Premier and provide British Columbians the change they want. Click here to make a contribution today.

    so… I made my first DONATION to their party.
    (see… I am non-partisan!… and… it’s my hope the processing fee exceeds the amount I donated.)

    here’s the surprise email I received back from them:

    Thank you for your support of Premier Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberal Team!

    Your contribution of $0.02 was received by the BC Liberal Party.
    One Time Donation Your reference number is: ####
    Tax receipts are issued by the BC Liberal Party before the end of February of the following income tax year.”

    Perhaps someone should inform that Liberal Party that there’s a new sheriff in town…
    or is there?

    (Response: That’s hilarious. Or maybe Campbell is getting your 2 cents! h.o)

  23. StandUpforBC says:

    Barry // Mar 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm said:

    “Ah Harve, remember one of the first thing Campbell did upon taking power is rip up HEU contracts. Then there was freezing the minimum wage for nearly a decade. The right wing in this province does not believe in anything but their bottom lime.

    (Response: Yes… but unlike Wisconsin, Campbell’s actions were illegal..and the province paid back $85 million to the unfairly treated workers. h.o)”

    Harvey, I beg to differ. My niece is one of those health care workers whose contract was ripped up. She did not recover her lost wages. Period. Nor did she recover the wages she rightfully should have had in the years before the Supreme Court finally slapped Campbell’s government with their decision.

    Most of the money was returned to the unions, not to union members. The actual members got screwed, while the union execs made out pretty good.

    That’s another legacy of the Campbell government, that they’ve managed to corrupt the BCNU and other such public sector unions to come onto their side. Just like they did with the mainstream media.

    How? Simple. Power and Greed, the great motivators of those who are our “leaders” in BC today. Our leaders, almost without exception are a corrupted lot.

    Harvey, the situation here is far worse than any misguided Tea Party state. The fact that our media won’t even report on this stuff, while Wisconsin gets lots of media coverage should tell us something.

    (Response: If the unions kept the money as you suggest, and did not turn it back to the workers, I think there would have been some pretty loud yelling! h.o)

  24. StandUpforBC says:

    Harvey, I am remiss. I forgot to say that I am very grateful that you published this piece about the paramedics. Other media seem to have no memory beyond triggers from the Public Affairs Bureau (Gordon Campbell’s Pravda), and no comprehensive oversight. Your columns are evidence of a journalistic mind that our country is all but bereft of now.

    Paramedics are GOLD as far as I’m concerned.

    Never once in all of my encounters with these fine men and women have I ever had a single thing to complain about. Actually, quite the contrary.

    In fact I witnessed a personal act of bravery by a paramedic staring down a major VIP who was trying to prevent paramedics from treating a person who would have otherwise died as a result of actions by the VIP’s organization. Quite a scene, that was.

    In my experience, paramedics are the polar opposite of the type of people one often encounters in the rest of the health “authority” system. Not always, but definitely often. And, why is that anyway? How did paramedics manage to retain their integrity and professionalism when others in BC’s healthcare “authority” environment have not?

    So, Harvey my hat is off to you once again. You are a shining example of what journalistic integrity and professionalism can be, and should be, in a country that purports to be a democracy.

    (Response: Aw, shucks! 🙂 Thanks. h.o

  25. Iwannajob says:

    Do firemen make $2/hr while waiting for full time work? Why aren’t the ambulances stationed in firehouses and the their attendants paid full time just like the firemen? An example of how the government looks upon their ambulance attendants was highlighted by the last influenza crisis. My daughter is a nurse and she told me she was not to vaccinate them ambulance attendants as a priority because they are NOT considered front line health care workers. Of course she ignored that order.

  26. Creaker Dave says:

    (Response: Yes… but unlike Wisconsin, Campbell’s actions were illegal..and the province paid back $85 million to the unfairly treated workers. h.o)

    Yup… and then that court enforced settlement (fine??) was deemed by EI to have been earned income, and the illegally fired workers were then made to repay large portions of their EI payments from several years earlier.

    (Response: Maybe crime does pay! h.o)

  27. BC PARAMEDIC says:

    Thank you so much for keeping us alive in the media!!! You have no idea how much your support means!

  28. SB says:

    As First Responder who regularly works with BC Ambulance paramedics i cant tell you how lucky we are to have the quality of people we do they are dedicated professionals all i can offer on the the BC Govt side pretty much exactly the opposite of the BC LIbs that screwed them over

  29. Toby Fourre says:

    I am sure that Campbell wanted to privatize BC Ambulance. Why he didn’t, I don’t know. Judging by the private transfer ambulances I have seen, Campbell had a margin of success. Did I read that the air ambulance was contracted out?

    The question is will the Christy Clark charade continue privatization of BC Ambulance?

  30. Linda says:

    I remember how angry I was by, Campbell being ignorant, and disgraceful enough, to throw a tooney at the paramedics. That ugly scene sticks with me, to this day.

    Paramedics are first in line, to treat and stabilize, accident victims, heart attacks, strokes, and hundreds of other cases. Without them, I can’t even guess, at how many citizens would have died.

    Shame on Campbell and the now BC Liberals. Medics were on the battlefields, they saved
    millions of lives. My brother was one soldier, whose life was saved by a medic. It’s no different with our paramedics, they are first on the scene to treat gun shot wounds, horrific accident injuries.

    I can’t find the words to express my anger. Our paramedics get a kick in the face, for their dedication of saving lives.

  31. crh says:

    Thanks for standing up for paramedics in BC.

    Go out and hug one today:)

    (Response: Think I’ll pass on that. But I do appreciate the job they do. h.o)

  32. Dear Harvey,

    I was born and raised in BC and lived there for 45 years. I have great admiration for the quality of work you have done as a journalist through many of those years. However, I am sad to say that I am now quite gladly living OUTSIDE of BC, and believe you have missed the boat on the Paramedics issue.

    Certainly a highly experienced journalist like yourself should know well when to ignore the “New Political Fluff” that always gets tossed around when a Government gets shuffled. But I think you got sucked up by the vacuum as well.

    I agree that raising the minimum wage is a good place to start for Mrs. Clark, especially since the Campbell government has done nothing but appease the real estate gold-diggers of the Province. While he could well have been paying attention to the working class (if any even still exist above the poverty line), it appears that Mr. Campbell decided to ignore them once he was forced to acknowledge his own trailer park problems, and decided to Par-tay with the “Upper Class” instead.

    However, I completely disagree with you on the Paramedics issues. The fact of that matter is, they have brought it upon themselves.

    You speak of “Talks of Change”, well I can tell you first hand that CUPE 873 does not seek change, nor “to change” and therein lies the problem. In fact, their problems are much easier to solve than they really want to acknowledge, but then, you cannot change anything you do not acknowledge, can you?

    I’m sure I could go on at great length, and would be more than happy to discuss it with you including references you might find quite interesting indeed. But let us say for now that although I agree that the BC Liberal Government has been less than exemplary in the past decade or so, if I were you I would not be so quick to judge the Government alone for the problems of the people.

    Despite that it is all too clear that we are in agreement there are MANY problems with Emergency Level Care in the Province of BC, it is clearly evident that we would disagree as to the cause.

    Let us not forget, we presume to live in a Democratic Society. Ergo, if the Liberal Government was able to introduce and pass legislation that it believes was in the best interest of the People of the Province, then it is because they were chosen to do so…by the Paramedics and all as well.

    Furthermore, if there are any BC Paramedics out there who are truly dissatisfied with their employment with BCAS, they can now acquire work in other Provinces where the wages are significantly higher, work is abundant, and it will only cost them $150 to do so, thanks to the BC Government and the TILMA agreement. Believe me, its much better over here.

    So, would you like Sunshine? or Rain?

    (Response: Thanks for a really interesting look at the issue. But since you’ve read my blog on this, you will not be surprised I thionk you missed a crucial point. I have said repeatedly I do NOT know what the paramedics should be paid; I do not know all the ins and out of their buisness….BUT I do know one thing: if you take away an entire group’s right to negoiate and to carrying out any labour actions, right up to their right to strike (which I would not support either), then you MUST provide a fair mechanism for reaching a settlement, such as mandatory mediation and then arbitration. To just have a government DICTATE what the wages and other conditions will be for ANYONE is simply undemocratic, unfair and has no place in a free society. How you can support that kind of dictatorship is beyond me. h.o)

  33. james says:

    In one of your lead-ins to your main subject, you are only partially correct.

    No funding usually earned by charities through lending their name to gaming was returned to the ARTS. They are studying that problem.

    Please check…for more details.

    ARTS companies are run by people with families and serve families.

    I enjoy your blog. You were right to call Gordon out for his dictatorial nature.

    (Response: Then they should get part of the next batch of “make-ups” I’m sure she’ll do as the provincial election approaches. h.o)

  34. Good point Harvey.

    I apologize for missing the point on your not knowing the issues. Being a paramedic myself, I’d be happy to enlighten you.

    As per the “rights” issue, I obviously wouldn’t support a dictatorship. However, our current systems of “arbitration” and “mediation” appear to me to be farcical just as well. Both are just as useful as a dictatorship when the parties involved are just as dismissive or dishonest, even with themselves. Further, they are all adversarial in nature.

    We presume to have a “free society”, but in reality, we are governed by majority. It is that majority that gives the Government the right to do what it has. Perhaps it is a kind of dictatorship in itself. And sadly, the right to strike doesn’t really offer any solutions either…it usually just makes matters worse for everyone.

    Catch 22? I think not. I made a free choice to go elsewhere, and though not ideal, far more effective. Perhaps then it IS a matter of freedom of choice.

  35. eleven-o-four says:

    just a lighthearted follow-up…

    so… I donated $0.02 to the Liberal Party last week to show them the extent of my support.

    I checked my credit card statement today…
    and they have unceremoniously refused the payment… and refunded my 2-cents.


    (Response: Wow! And I thought they were the party of business!!! On a recent pre-paid car rental, the computer at Budget check in determined I owed a balance of a penny. And sure enoughy, it came on my Visa this month … 1 cent! No wonder they call it Budget! 🙂 h.o.

  36. Richard V says:

    Many thanks for your kind support Harv.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Fair wages? A review of the 2009/10 Public Accounts document (Ministry of Finance) quickly reveals that there’s anything but unfair wages for paramedics. :

    ADAMACK, RICHARD, Paramedic Unit Chief $123,478
    ANDERSON, MICHAEL, Paramedic $96,841
    ARCHER, TIM, Paramedic $116,817
    ATKINSON, ROBERT, Paramedic $118,063
    BAIRD, R. EDWARD, Paramedic Unit Chief $112,110
    BEASLEY, WENDY, Paramedic Unit Chief $134,142
    BECKETT, RONALD, Paramedic$ 105,674
    BIDDLE, MALCOLM, Paramedic Unit Chief $150,922
    BILLING, ANDREW, Paramedic Unit Chief $106,804

    Not bad salaries for a job that doesn’t require much more than a high school diploma. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think paramedics don’t have an important job. I do think that your ridiculous demands for higher pay is what’s idiotic.

    (Response: I notice you refer to the very few at the top … many unit chiefs and includes all their overtime, which could amount to hundreds of hours. This is a propaganda tactic often used by management to shoot down wage increase demands. What about the other thousand paramedics? And the lowest five at the bottom? And what do the non-union top paramedic management executives get who only see blood if they cut themselves shaving? Figures please! h.o)

  38. Cory S says:


    $21.19 per hour. I get paid more as a lifeguard.

  39. Confused says:

    Its very interesting that people in BC, make a choices with out the facts, they make choices on propaganda and hear say.

    Lets Talk…….
    *Medical Training*

    FireFighters/First Responders

    “6 days” First aid training “6 days”
    “Some” 3 weeks for EMR

    OFA 1 ( 1 day plus CPR)


    PCP Paramedic ( 2 year Diploma) plus an Acquired Medical licence

    ACP & CPP Paramedics ( 4 & 5 years)

    So…ask yourself this? If Your child or mother was going to be in the care of one of the above. Who would you want? I know who I want PCP, ACP, CPP Paramedics.

    Nothing else you really need to say!
    Pay the Medics what they want!

  40. NB Paramedic says:

    WOW…touchy subject…just wanted to add MY 2 cents worth.
    I worked as a paramedic (PCP) in New Brunswick. There, I made 22$/hr, for 12 hours, working PART TIME. I averaged 45-50 hrs/ week. Within the past 3-4 years have amalgamated the ambulance services, and increased the wages from this type of situation. There are still some bumps to be smoothed out, BUT IT WAS NEEDED AND WELL DESERVED MOVE!! What kind of INCENTIVE is it to offer “2$/hr for on call,” for new recruits. I was looking to move to BC to practice as a paramedic. Quite frankly, I was turned off seeing what the pay is for these medics! I LOVE my career choice, its VERY rewarding!! To say that they DO NOT deserve a decent wage is INSANE!! Maybe if you had to spend a day with a medic, you could APPRECIATE all that we do: GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE!! I believe ALL medics should be paid a MINIMUM of $22-24/hr ACROSS THE COUNTRY!! We CHOOSE to put our lives at stake, to save another life!! I DO NOT agree with being paid 2$/hr while remaining on call. How can you afford to live and raise your family??! You’re right, NOT MANY will line up to be paid this! The education and knowledge we retain is WORTH IT!! Not to mention the price we pay to learn, ($15,000 was what I paid) Would you rather be responsible or have someone else responsible for saving a family member with NO training, or would you like to be reassured by having a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL act in confidence doing what he or she was TRAINED to do!? Guess it comes down to having to experience that situation before you make the call, with the guilt riding on your shoulders!!

    **just my 2 cents on the matter, SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!!**

  41. Sorry Anonymymous says:

    I lived through this dispute more than I care to remember. Sorry I have to be anonymous due to my position. Bottom line the medics were intentionally screwed by government and senior BC Ambulance executives – the intent was to break the union by denying medics a fair deal. The union made mistakes but they were baited by professionals. BC residents will now have to live with the results.

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