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Better pay for paramedics in rural communities

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) is trying to ensure that there are sufficient paramedics in rural communities throughout the province. 

In a leaked memo from Chief Ambulance Officer Leanne Heppell and Troy Clifford, Provincial President of the Ambulance Paramedics of BC, dated August 6th, BCEHS notified its employees and Local 873 members of two changes of great importance to Cortes Island, Sayward, Tahsis and Zeballos.

The four hour minimum wage extended

The four hour minimum wage (known as a kilo guaranteed), which paramedics have received for the past four years, has been restored until November 1, 2021. 

On July 27, Cortes Currents revealed that this was about to be replaced by $2 an hour stand-by pay, until paramedics are called out, starting on August 1st. 

More part time positions

In addition to reinstating the kilo guarantee in small communities while the transition to a new service model is underway, BC Emergency Services is hiring an additional 83 regular part-time paramedics for 26 stations. 

Seven of these are on Vancouver Island, and the following stations are within the SRD: 

  • Cortes Island – 3 paramedics
  • Sayward – 3 paramedics
  • Tahsis – 2 paramedics
  • Zeballos –  3 paramedics

The Alpha Stations

BCEHS is also setting up 22 stations, previously identified through the collective agreement to become Scheduled On Call (SOC)stations, as 24/7 Alpha stations. Bowser, Cumberland, Lake Cowichan,  Port McNeill and Tofino are among them.

In a recent interview, Green Party MLA Adam Olsen said BCEHS may keep tweaking their service model for the next few months. 

Links of Interest:

Article originally published August 9, corrected August 15th.

Top photo credit: Man in front on headlight – Photo by Eugene Triguba Unsplash

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2 thoughts on “Better pay for paramedics in rural communities”

  1. I think your headline is a bit misleading. While the return to the Kilo guarantee does mean better on call pay, it is only an interim measure until November. The real headline is that there will be 3 more regular part time positions for the Cortes station. This means stable work and hopefully shorter wait time if you need the Ambulance. The pay rate won’t change and the rest of the on call members will go back to $2 per hour for their on call shift.
    Also, the CCHA did not confirm your original reporting of the situation in our letter of August 4. As we discussed in our phone conversation this week, I took my information directly from your article in which you posted a copy of the schedule.

    1. Sorry Bernice, I somehow missed the fact I was your source. (No wonder your information tallied so closely with mine!) So I deleted that segment.

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