The union representing workers in the pre-hospital emergency care sector in Quebec is calling for more financial resources to avoid what it describes as a “catastrophic” breakdown of services.
The president of the Federation of Prehospital Employees of Quebec (FPHQ) says that emergency call centers are struggling with a staff shortage that has become unsustainable.
Daniel Chouinard says understaffing increases response times, including for 911 calls, which means ambulances take longer to deploy.
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He says some workers work more than 70 hours a week and some quit due to poor working conditions.
The union, whose workers include paramedics and dispatchers, has been without a contract for nine months.
Chouinard says call center workers are only paid $21.37 an hour, which does not reflect the difficulty of the work or their specialized knowledge of health services and emergency situations.
He urges the Quebec government to sign a new contract to restore some stability in the sector and avoid service interruptions.
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