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

MOVIE MONDAY: Wartime film treat scheduled this week

Classic German film Das Boot part of a busy November and December at Fort Street film hub

REVIEW: Chase away the November blues at The Phoenix Theatre

Guest director Jacques Lemay and The Drowsy Chaperone offer breezy fun at UVic

Giving back builds a strong community in Victoria

National Philanthropy Day celebrates individuals, groups for their significant contributions

REVIEW: A definitive armistice story at Langham Court

Production of Goodnight Mister Tom hits the mark with believable story, characters

‘Tis the season for family musical theatre in Saanich

Four Seasons presents The Vault Brothers’ Show at Claremont’s Ridge Theatre

Robert K bring soulful voice to Sooke coffeehouse

The Sooke Folk Music Society coffee house is this Saturday

REVIEW: Belfry’s latest offering leaves bad taste in the mouth

Mustard loud and overbearing, ruins good story bones, writes reviewer Sheila Martindale

HarbourCats nail down 2019 West Coast League baseball schedule

Another busy summer planned for Victoria’s collegiate level ballclub

ON FOOD: Tiny dinette offering full cheesy goodness

Ruth and Dean impress Monday reviewer Allan Reid with their culinary creativity

Most Read