Skip to main content

Brampton mayor, paramedic union concerned breakup of Peel Region could hamper emergency services

Share

The head of Peel Region’s paramedic union and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown are voicing concern that Ontario's plan to dissolve Peel Region could put emergency services in jeopardy.

Speaking with CP24 Tuesday morning, Brown said that he believes paramedics when they say that the plan could put lives at risk.

“We have 850 exceptional paramedics in Peel Region and this dissolution train wreck is going to really damage their ability to take care of our residents who are facing significant health adversity,” Brown said. “And if there's one thing we need to get right, it’s to make sure what when you need an ambulance, there's an ambulance available.”

According to the union, recruitment was a problem prior to the announcement this year that the province plans to dissolve Peel Region. Hiring is normally done in December, with new recruits starting in the spring. Peel Paramedic Union OPSEU 277 President Dave Wakely says the uncertainty created about future employment is now making that process even more difficult.

"The uncertainty caused by the dissolution is affecting the recruitment and retention of paramedics in Peel,” Wakely said in a statement. “We urge local and provincial governments, the transition board, and the community to collaborate in ensuring that we do not compromise the quality and availability of paramedic care in Peel.”

Brown echoed that concern.

“How can you recruit new paramedics when you don't even know if the service is going to be functioning, if it's going to exist?” He said “So this instability right now is going to wreak havoc amongst the paramedics. That's why I continue to ask the province to relook at the dissolution.”

The Ontario government passed Bill 112, also known as the Hazel McCallion Act, in June. It calls for Peel Region to be dissolved by the start of 2025, with Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon becoming single-tier cities without a regional layer of government.

Many of the details have yet to be hammered out though.

In a statement to CP24.com, a spokesperson for Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra said the Peel Transition Board continues to work with the region and lower-tier municipalities on all the specifics.

“As we’ve always said, this work must ensure that we are protecting the financial sustainability of these municipalities in a fair and equal manner while ensuring the continuation of high-quality services for taxpayers and improving the efficiency of local governments,” the statement read. “Our focus must remain on doing everything we can to meet our ambitious goal of building at least 1.5 million homes by 2031.”

It did not specifically address concerns over the hiring and retention of paramedics.

Brown said the province has told him that they’re listening to all the feedback, but plan to proceed anyhow.

“You do your homework and the homework shows that it's a bad, bad decision, Brown said. “We shouldn't be proceeding and I'm going to continue to express that to my colleagues in Peel Region and the provincial government now that we've done our homework, now that we have the financial analysis, now that we have the stakeholder feedback. You'd be wrong to proceed and I hope the provincial government hears the call of our paramedics, our police, our public health workers, and our long term care staff.” 

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

What to know about Super Tuesday and why it matters

It's almost Super Tuesday when voters in 16 states and one territory will cast their ballots in the 2024 presidential primaries. Here's why the day matters — and why it looks a little different this year.

Stay Connected