July 21, 2017

** BC essential services petition for EMS fails to get required number of signatures

** Ontario region expecting 40 per cent jump in opioid overdoses

CANADA NEWS

** A petition by BC paramedics to have EMS declared an essential service in the province has failed. That is the word from Castanet (Wayne Moore/April 10) which said the signature drive to amend the Fire and Police Service Collective Bargaining Act ended with the submission of the petition Monday to Elections BC. A spokesman for the organization said the document required 10 per cent of registered voters in the province to move forward. The next step would have been legislation or a referendum on the matter. Although the effort failed, medics in Penticton, Vernon Monashee, and Shuswap did manage to get the required number of signatures for their areas.

** Ontario paramedics in the Essex-Windsor region are expecting a 40 per cent jump in overdose calls this year. The Windsor Star (Trevor Wilhelm/April 10) said the prediction was discussed Monday at an opioid information session. According to the newspaper, the session focused on the growing drugs crisis. It also looked at how medics can protect themselves from being exposed to the dangerous chemicals. Among the drugs discussed was fentanyl, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and carfentanyl. RCMP chemical diversion unit spokesman Sgt. Brent Hill said the problem is not going to get better since it is now global. Essex-Windsor EMS deputy chief of professional standards Justin Lammers, meanwhile, said 19 patients were given Narcan in the last week of March alone. In 2015, area medics gave 48 people Naloxone, while in 2016 the number was 58.

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