The union representing B.C. paramedics is reacting to a proposal by the City of Vancouver to increase property taxes by 0.5 per cent to help deal with the fentanyl crisis.
If approved, one proposed solution would be an additional Vancouver Fire and Rescue medic team in the downtown east side, comprised of a three person crew staffed 24/7.
But President of the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. Bronwyn Barter says the city needs to hit the pause button.
“This is the first time we’ve ever heard of a fire medic in B.C. They are trying to introduce something new and above what the role of a first responder is. I’m not sure what a fire medic is.”
She says the term is way too vague.
“Really hard to determine what the position would be doing, a new position that they are trying to add. Fire does play an integral role as first responders, but the term fire medic is new to us. And really what the patient needs is a front line medical professional, which is the paramedics. Fire does not have the ability to transport, they do not have the proper training.”
Barter says before imposing an additional tax onto the public, the government needs to add 25 additional paramedics to the Metro Vancouver region, which was recommended by a report commissioned by BC Ambulance.