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'Initiative Petition Application' underway, to change paramedics' bargaining rights

Rossland Telegraph
By Rossland Telegraph
November 10th, 2016

British Columbia’s Chief Electoral Officer, Keith Archer, has granted approval in principle on an initiative petition application. The petition will be issued to proponent Joshua Henshaw on Monday, January 9, 2017. The title of the initiative is: An initiative to amend the Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act.

The draft Bill proposes to amend the Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act (the Act) to give ambulance paramedics the same collective bargaining rights as firefighters and police officers.

The draft Bill would re-title the Act to the Ambulance, Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act, change the definition of “employer” under the Act to include the employer of members of a paramedics’ union, and define “paramedics’ union” as a bargaining unit in which the majority of employees are engaged in ambulance paramedic duties.

The draft Bill would also remove the right of ambulance paramedics to strike and the right of their employer to lockout during an impasse in collective bargaining, and would require resolution of the impasse through binding arbitration. Consequently, the draft Bill would remove the paramedics’ union as a bargaining unit under the Health Authorities Act.

“This initiative petition application is the tenth to be approved since the legislation came into force in 1995”, says Archer.

Any registered voter can apply to have a petition issued to gather support for a legislative proposal. After the petition is issued, the proponent will have 90 days to canvass and collect signatures of at least 10% of the registered voters in each of British Columbia’s 85 electoral districts.

Individuals or organizations who intend to oppose the initiative, conduct initiative advertising, or canvass for signatures must be registered with Elections BC. The deadline to apply to be an opponent of the initiative is Monday, December 12, 2016.

Registered voters as of January 9, 2017 may sign the petition once for the electoral district in which they are registered.

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