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

Cherish: dance, fashion and philanthropy

Oct. 4 fundraiser a collaboration betweren Dance Victoria and Victoria Women’s Transition House

Multiple Juno nominee comes to Oak Bay stage

Andrew Collins Trio play Upstairs Lounge Sept.28

WHL Royals go 2-0 vs. P.G., gear up for weekend test against Kamloops

Three-way tie for first atop B.C. Division as Victoria, Kamloops, Vancouver unbeaten

MATTER OF BEER: Getting Fresh in the Fall

Monday columnist Mathieu Poirier looks at fresh-hopped beers that mark harvest season

REVIEW: A Doll’s House: Part 2 at the Belfry revisits fractured relationships

Sheila Martindale finds the characters in this imagined sequel engaging and accessible

Musicians take note at Victoria music industry conference

Emerging artists and industry professionals come together at Rifflandia Gathering

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

VIDEO: Young B.C. musician sings with the Foo Fighters

Stranger Than Fiction’s Madi Duncan from Port Alberni was invited up on stage at the Vancouver show

Victoria’s Ethiopian community welcomes in the year 2011

Area residents celebrate Ethiopian New Year on Sept. 12, based on the Julian calendar

Mansbridge: iconic Canadian newsman coming to Sidney

Former host of CBC’s The National part of Mary Winspear Centre speaker series

Most Read