February 2, 2018

There is only a narrow opportunity before the provincial election for municipal governments to get legislated protection from arbitrators imposing fire medic pilots or programs on unwilling municipalities.  This legislative opportunity is having this protection included in the upcoming Budget Bill expected in March or April 2018.

Bill 160, the Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients Act, is now law without the legislative amendments AMO and its members demanded to be included. The Province may assume that this issue has gone away with the legislation now in place.  

It has not and now the risk is more dire.  We need your voice now to secure these legislative changes before the House rises this spring. The window for any new legislation is closing soon - the Budget Bill is likely our last chance.

Please review and support the attached draft resolution.  Please send it immediately to the Premier, and copy the Ministers and your local MPP. (See contacts below that will help you do this).

Your strong voice and support on this significant issue is needed and welcome.

Who to send resolution to:

a) Office of the Premier, Honourable Kathleen Wynne
b) Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins
c) Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services,  Honourable Marie-France Lalonde
d) Minister of Labour, Honourable Kevin Flynn
e) Minister of Municipal Affairs, Honourable Bill Mauro
f) Your local MPP
g) AMO, AMO President.
Draft Fire Medic Resolution for Council’s Consideration    February 2, 2018

WHEREAS Bill 160, the Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients Act amended the Ambulance Act to permit the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to enable two pilot projects hosted by willing municipal governments to allow fire fighters, certified as paramedics, to treat patients while on duty with a fire department; and

WHEREAS the Government of Ontario is committed to proceeding with the pilots and enabling the fire-medic model despite the absence of objective evidence to show that it would improve patient outcomes or response times; and

WHEREAS the current interest arbitration model, particularly in the fire services sector, allows arbitrators to impose awards on unwilling employers that directly impact the employer’s ability to determine how it will deploy its workforce, as evidenced by the experience of many municipalities in regards to the 24-hour shift; and

WHEREAS in the absence of legislative protection, unwilling municipalities may be forced to enter into a pilot or adopt a fire-medic model as a result of interest arbitration; and

WHEREAS the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and its municipal members have called on the Government of Ontario to introduce legislative amendments to the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 and the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act to preclude arbitrators from expanding the scope of work for fire fighters and paramedics respectively through interest arbitration awards; and

WHEREAS there is precedent for a restriction on the scope of jurisdiction of arbitrators in section 126 of the Police Services Act which precludes arbitrators from amending the core duties of police officers; and

WHEREAS the Government of Ontario has committed that no unwilling municipal government will have a fire-medic pilot or program imposed upon them.

NOW THEREFORE be it resolved that:
  1. The [insert municipality name] calls on the Government of Ontario to act immediately so that legislative amendments, that will protect unwilling municipalities from being forced by arbitrators to have a fire medic pilot or program, are placed within the upcoming Budget Bill before the Ontario Legislature rises for the provincial election.
  2. A copy of this resolution be forwarded to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Office of the Premier; Hon. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care; Hon. Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services; Hon. Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, Hon. Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs; [local members of provincial parliament]; and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.