BC Paramedics – Underpaid and Overworked BC
This is a writing sample from Scripted writer Steven Furlong
Paramedics are underpaid for the services they provide to the public. A paramedic's average hourly wage in British Columbia is $34. For that money, there are quite a few alternative options. Things like operating heavy machinery, for example, have the potential to be far less frightening, and stressful.
Often overlooked is the use of the kilo pay scale. A completely dated system that will only pay many casual paramedics a minimum rate until their pager goes off for a call. While they are guaranteed a minimum full pay of 4 hours, it's hard for anybody to justify becoming a paramedic in this province at that rate.
Although the latest BC Paramedics Collective Agreement (via apbc.ca) raises that "stand-by" rate to the provincial minimum wage for certain workers, 'minimum wage' and 'paramedic' should never be used in the same sentence. Critical call wait times could be as long as two hours.
Ambulance response times in British Columbia are now at an all-time high. We don't have enough crew members to fill our ambulances, resulting in longer response times in situations where every second counts.
This also contributes to the burnout of our current paramedics. Our first responders will be ineffective in serving the public during healthcare emergencies unless they receive greater compensation and assistance.
To put it bluntly, our emergency services are in an intolerable state. Take a moment to consider the following: Amid the opioid crisis, not to mention the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, the province refuses to adequately compensate the people we rely on the most.
So, what are your options? Send an email to the Premier. Speak up about your worries. Changes are possible, but we must have people support our paramedics. They are entitled to more favorable working conditions.