Paramedics were recently informed that a hearing in front of New Brunswick's Labour & Employment Board would take place from November 4th - 6th. The hearing will seek to determine whether the Paramedic profession has evolved to such an extent, as to classify the Provinces Paramedics as "Medical Science Professionals."
The reclassification of Paramedics was announced last December, following a grass-roots campaign by front-line Paramedics and a classification analysis that was preformed by the Province of New Brunswick. The multifaceted analysis reviewed the current educational requirements, roles, responsibilities, and risks faced by Paramedics.
Such an analysis had not been preformed on the Paramedic profession, since 1972.
A reclassification would see Paramedics removed from their current bargaining agent, CUPE 1252, to be placed under the bargaining agent mandated with representing healthcare professionals within the Province, the New Brunswick Union (NBU).
This change was slated to take effect on April 1st, 2020.
However, following the announcement, CUPE made filings to the Labour & Employment Board in opposition of the move, citing "unfair labour practices."
For more on CUPE's complaint, click here.
The hearing will take place virtually and will hear arguments from the Government of New Brunswick, the Paramedic Association of New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Union, as well as the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Those interested in attending the hearing virtually, can contact the Labour & Employment Board to request an access code.
Paramedics remain focused on the task at hand:
The COVID-19 Pandemic has placed the clinical versatility of Paramedics on full display.
In addition to the performance of their regular duties, such as responding to 911 calls, Paramedics have been tasked with establishing COVID-19 testing sites, performing mobile testing to individuals at home, as well as Incident Command expertise and clinical support to areas experiencing an outbreak.
Joel Mattatall, Chair of the Committee who lobbied government on behalf of Paramedics for a classification analysis said,
"We are proud of Paramedics and the vital role they continue to play as part of a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals, tasked with the Provincial response to COVID-19. Their clinical expertise continues to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the communities they serve."
Though Paramedics remain frustrated with the actions of CUPE and the delays caused by the filings to the Board, they are optimistic and look forward to receiving a ruling in their favour come November.
[Photo] Members of the Paramedic Leadership Team establish a Mobile Command Centre, to coordinate the response to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, in Moncton New Brunswick.