"To suggest that there would not be ambulance services available to respond to an emergency when needed, whether in the midst of a strike or not, is a dangerous misrepresentation." — Michael Parker, HSAA Vice-President
Edmonton (12 April 2016) — Opposition members are misleading Albertans with misinformation about potential risks as a result of essential services legislation, says Michael Parker, Vice-President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) and a 23-yearveteran of emergency medical services (EMS).
Emergency medical services professionals will always be present to respond to emergencies
"I am proud of the professionalism displayed on a daily basis by HSAA/NUPGE members of EMS," says Parker. "The health of Albertans has always been first and foremost for our members and we have regularly spoken out to find ways to serve them better."
"To suggest that there would not be ambulance services available to respond to an emergency when needed, whether in the midst of a strike or not, is a dangerous misrepresentation," he added. "The current legislation will provide for discussions between our union and the employers to ensure that sufficient numbers of EMS personnel will always be present to respond to emergencies whenever they occur."
Essential services legislation provides way to reach agreement about staffing levels during strike or lockout
The Alberta government's Bill 4: An Act to Implement a Supreme Court Ruling Governing Essential Services, outlines a process by which employers and the unions will come to an agreement about what levels of service would be considered essential should negotiations of collective agreements come to an impasse and result in a strike or lockout.
These agreements will be reviewed by an Essential Services Commissioner whose job it will be to ensure that the agreements meet the standards set forth in legislation.
Primary concern for health professionals is patient care
"At all times, the safety and well-being of Albertans is the primary priority of the workers, the employers and the government alike. To suggest that anything else is the case is irresponsible," says Parker. "The very professionalism of paramedics that the opposition has passionately defended would dictate that they will ensure that truly essential services will always be provided."
"It's time that our provincial politicians refrain from over-the-top exaggerations and discuss these important issues with facts and reason," Parker concluded.