“My daughter would never have been born if it weren’t for the preliminary assessment when [EMS staff] got to my house two months earlier,” Mammoliti said Tuesday at city hall. “Complications — they knew exactly what it was when they came to my house. The police would not have known and the fire department would not have known.”
The city’s executive committee held off making EMS an essential service until a staff report detailing the projected pros and cons of the decision is completed. Making EMS essential — as are police, fire and TTC — would exempt it from future work stoppages.
Ward 3 councillor Doug Holyday argued against designating EMS essential, saying the move would be too costly for Toronto’s taxpayers. Councillors need more information before making a final decision, he said.
“This information is not in front of us today,” Holyday said, adding the timing of Tuesday’s motion “couldn’t be worse.”
A potential work stoppage — either a strike or a lockout — faces the city as early as Feb. 5. The city is seeking new collective agreements with its inside and outside workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees locals 79 and 416 respectively.
“What I see now is this is stalled till after the lockout,” said EMS employee Jerry Dobson. “Are we happy? Not at all. I’m a support staff worker and this is going to put me out on strike or in the lockout for six months.”
Earlier this month, the Ontario Labour Relations Board set EMS staffing levels at 85 per cent in the event of a work stoppage.
Having only a portion of the city’s emergency staff working would be “the most dangerous situation,” Mammoliti said. The city should keep them on the job, he said, “for the safety of the residents of Toronto.”