WCB / EI Coverage

This letter was sent to the Honourable Jason Copping:  Minister of Labour and Immigration March 21, 2020

Dear Honourable Copping,

As a representative organization for its members, the Alberta Paramedic Association’s (the Association) mission is to enhance knowledge, skills and the health and wellness Paramedics. The Association is not a union, but rather an elected organization that provides a voice for Paramedics within their professional practice.

Amid this COVID-19 crisis, all front-line medical professionals are doing their best to provide service for Albertan’s. Paramedics are often the first medical professionals contacted during health emergencies. Currently, Paramedics are taking great risk to protect their personal wellbeing and their families to ensure health services are being maintained.

There have been many announcements by your government outlining the financial assistance that you are providing for Albertans during this time of crisis. Current messaging is aimed at those who either become exposed or contract symptoms of the COVID-19 virus with specific direction to quarantine themselves. Once exposed, it is reasonable for paramedics to quarantine themselves to limit exposure to others however they must enact or rely on any sick benefits.

The Association has spoken previously about those Paramedics who are working extended on call shifts commonly known as Core-Flex, where compensation is based on a framework of an hourly rate and on-call rate. While those particulars can be debated another day, there is a pressing financial issue to how sick benefits, Employment Insurance (EI) and/or Workers Compensation Board (WCB) are calculated for compensation within the Core-Flex model.

Compensation for the on-call hours varies slightly between employers, however this compensation averages to roughly $6/hour. When Paramedics activate sick benefits, those hours designated as “on-call” are not compensated by sick benefits. Over the course of a 14-day quarantine, a reduction of $6.00/hour for an “on-call” period of 12-14 hours per day becomes a significant portion of their wage. To be clear, this on-call value is also not recognized by Employment Insurance (EI) or the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) benefits due to current legislation.

The Alberta Paramedic Association asks the Minister of Labor for a directive that the “on-call” portion be included in all employee sick benefits and/or the Government provide a special relief funding package for those paramedics working the Core-Flex model in order to cover the deficiency within their benefits. Furthermore, this should be included in the assessment for EI and WCB compensation. We don’t believe this to be an unreasonable request for those Paramedics who are placing their own wellbeing at risk to serve Albertans.

While the Association’s primary function is for its members, we also feel the need to contribute in a meaningful way to the Government of Alberta. Paramedics skillsets can contribute greatly in this time of need. Thank you for your time in the midst of this Crisis and I look forward to discussing these matters with you. Sincerely, 

Dusty Myshrall, ACP, Flight Paramedic
President Alberta Paramedic Association 

Swab Testing

This letter was sent to the Alberta College of Paramedics on March 22, 2020

Dear Dusty Schlitter,

I am writing to you as the representative of the Alberta Paramedic Association (Association), in hopes that we may find common ground in working together to help Paramedics better serve Albertan’s during this COVID-19 Crisis. We’ve been approached by various stakeholders asking for clarification on a Primary Care Paramedics (PCP) and Emergency Medical Responders (EMR) ability to perform COVID-19 swab testing. While the Association certainly recognizes that scope of practice is within the mandate of the Alberta College of Paramedics (College), I am hopeful that both the Association and College may work together to expeditiously give PCP’s and EMR’s the ability to perform COVID-19 swab testing.

The Association can appreciate that adding to their scope and/or amending regulation can be a lengthy process, we do feel that during this pandemic crisis, Albertans will be better served by having PCP’s and possibly EMR’s performing swab testing. To that end, the Association is proposing that if the College agrees to giving practitioners the ability to perform swab testing, then the Association can host a learning module that any practitioner regardless of being a member or not, can take at no cost to them on our secured websites learning management system (LMS). Our website and LMS is on secured server and platform managed by a reputable company in Edmonton, who has contracts with other regulating bodies under the Health Professions Act. Once a practitioner completes the learning module, the LMS will provide them with a certificate, as-well automatically send a digital record to the College validating that they have completed the module.

I am happy to discuss the above in more detail as-well any other ideas/solutions to expedite their ability to perform swab testing within Alberta as well any other ways that Paramedics can better serve Albertan’s in this time of Crisis. Please call me at 780-904-3619 at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your urgent attention in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Dusty Myshrall, ACP, Flight Paramedic
President Alberta Paramedic Association 

COVID-19: Letter to the Government of Alberta

The Alberta Paramedic Association is here for you. We realize that in Healthcare today you have been faced with unprecedented responsibility during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Due to COVID-19, you as a Paramedic may have been asked to perform new duties including but not limited to “treating and referring” patients.

Due to this request, the Alberta Paramedic Association has requested Dr. Deena Hinshaw with The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health Government of Alberta to provide further directives pertaining to treating and referring patients who are suspected to have COVID-19 who are in our care regardless of your practice setting.

We value each of you for stepping up to the challenge and helping keep Albertans safe in times when resources are stressed. You are the difference we want to see in our profession and we want to keep you informed as quickly as possible.

Stay Safe and thank you for your service.

For further information about COVID-19, please visit our page dedicated to specific information surrounding it.