What’s Your Life Worth? Mental Health
In Canada, frontline paramedics commit suicide at five times the rate of the general population, and at rates higher than other first responders and the military. Since 2016, Peel Paramedics have experienced two Paramedic suicides and two attempted suicides. Currently, approximately 5% of our workforce is off due to occupational stress injuries. After the January 2016 suicide in Bolton of veteran paramedic Martin Wood, regional council unanimously supported the implementation of changes to paramedic mental health supports.
While the average Peel resident may experience one traumatic event in their life, such as the death of a child or unexpected death of a friend or relative, a Peel Paramedic will experience over 600 traumatic events during the course of their career. Proactive pre-event and post-event support is not only the right thing to do, it is the most cost-effective thing to do. Paramedics’ health and tax dollars can be saved by rapidly expanding support for the region’s paramedics. An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.
In 2007, Peel Regional Council approved a 10-year facilities plan for Peel Regional. The Health Analytics report, which the plan is based on, called for six ambulance “divisions” (a large station paramedics move out to the community from). In 2012, Peel Paramedic staff revised the plan and reduced it to four divisions, cancelling the divisions in wards 1 and 2.
As a result, the south of Mississauga is now experiencing an urban version of the problems that are rising in Caledon. Ambulances start and finish their shifts 15 km away through dense city traffic. This results in diminished coverage in the south end of Mississauga.
The Peel Paramedic Union supports an external audit of paramedic facilities and coverage to ensure all residents of Peel Region are receiving equal access to Advanced Medical Care
Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, operated by a private corporation called the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), accounts for almost 5% of the annual calls for Peel Paramedic Services at significant cost to the regional taxpayer. Unlike the Peel Regional Police who provide onsite policing under contract, taxpayers are not reimbursed for our services.
With tens of thousands of employees and almost 30 million passengers a year, Pearson is Canada’s largest airport, and the eleventh busiest in North America. Despite this, it lacks any of the onsite paramedic coverage provided in Vancouver or Montreal (both much smaller airports).
The Peel Paramedic Union supports an independent review of the GTAA’s usage of Paramedic Service delivery models in comparison to airports of similar size, to ensure that visitors have access to Peel’s Advanced Care Paramedics in the most cost-effective manner to the taxpayers.