[lg policy] Canada: New Brunswick paramedics rally against language laws

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Dec 15 16:38:46 UTC 2015

 N.B. paramedics rally against language laws
N.B. paramedics protest language laws
N.B. paramedics protest language laws

Protests were held across New Brunswick Monday by paramedics protesting
provincial language laws.

   - 0

CTV Atlantic
Published Monday, December 14, 2015 8:17PM AST

Paramedics were rallying in Moncton on Monday against New Brunswick’s
language regulations, saying an increasing number of first responders have
been forced to find work elsewhere.

Under the province’s language law, paramedics must be able to provide
service to patients in both official languages. If a bilingual paramedic
calls in sick, a bilingual paramedic must replace them.

“They're telling people that have been born and brought up in a certain
area,” said Pat Hepditch, president of the New Brunswick Council of
Hospital Unions,“that because you can't meet a proficiency test, you're no
longer good enough to work there.”
[image: Paramedic Protest]

Paramedics rally in Moncton against New Brunswick's language laws.

That could mean calling in someone from a different community.

“If they can't find anybody,that ambulance goes out of service. That
ambulance is parked,” said Hepditch.

Hepditch says the language policy is forcing unilingual paramedics to leave
the province for work, affecting staffing levels in New Brunswick.

“It could be done with a translation service. Patient care has never been
affected in any of these language complaints. Not one patient has been
affected by whether they were treated by an anglophone or francophone
paramedic,” said Hepditch.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau says he can't speak to that, but insists
linguistic policies in New Brunswick need to be followed.

“I do know that it certainly caused complaints in the past and even some
legal pursuits,” said Boudreau.

A similar rally was held in Saint John, where CUPE provincial
vice-president Denny Cogswell said the language law is creating animosity
among paramedics.

“For our people, this isn't about the law. This is about how this
company’schoosing to implement that law to cause a division within our
workforce,” said Cogswell.

Boudreau says there is no choice when it comes to the law.

“Ambulance New Brunswick, being a third-party service provider to
government,  does have to respect the linguistic laws that are in place.”


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