Ornge air ambulance says service will continue despite labour issues with paramedics

WATCH ABOVE: Ornge paramedics plan as hundreds of GTA COVID-19 patient transfers expected.

TORONTO — Ontario’s air ambulance service says it’s committed to serving patients without disruption as labour strife with its paramedics continues.

Unifor, which represents Ornge workers, says paramedics voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, if necessary, in a vote tabulated Friday.

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Union representing Ontario’s Ornge paramedics in favour of strike if necessary

A union spokesman says Ornge paramedics fall under the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, so an essential service agreement must be in place before any strike or lockout.

Unifor says the two sides are awaiting a date to meet with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to mediate an essential service agreement.

Paramedics have taken issue a provincial law that came into effect in 2019 and caps public sector wage increases to one per cent per year.

Ornge paramedics have been instrumental in helping transfer critically ill COVID-19 patients to intensive care units across the province, and have also helped with vaccination in remote communities.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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