Paramedic protest could benefit students
By Julie Fish and Heather VanAndel
The recent refusal from paramedics in Toronto to work overtime hours stands to benefit students.
“I think the numbers right now specifically in Toronto are lower and they need employees,” Richard Alvarez, paramedic professor at Humber College told Humber News. “I think our grads getting jobs will actually improve this upcoming spring.”
EMS workers began removing themselves from the overtime contact list after Thanksgiving weekend, in hopes of sending a message to city hall to hire more needed paramedics, according to the National Post.
Ken Horton, a paramedic and union steward for EMS, told the Post that since then, close to 300 unionized workers have refused overtime hours in an attempt to get the city to hire 200 new paramedics.
The city currently employs about 850 paramedics, whose union says are understaffed and overworked.
Lynne Urszenyi, Paramedic program co-ordinator at Humber College, told Humber News that she hopes the ongoing protest will help increase the program’s 60-70 percent hire rate.
The EMS only hires new employees twice a year, and Urszenyi says the protest will most likely not affect this but instead increase the number of new paramedics employed at each hiring interval.
Humber News’ interview with Humber paramedic professor Richard Alvarez is below: