Yukon party leadership campaign
MLA for Lake Laberge
Yukon Party Leadership Candidate
February 27, 2020
Developing an Action Plan for Emergency Medical Services and Fire Protection
WHITEHORSE – Brad Cathers, MLA for Lake Laberge, announced that if he is elected as Premier, the Yukon Government will increase support for Emergency Medical Services and volunteer fire departments.
“If we are successful in winning the next election, within the first 100 days of forming government, we will hold a summit as a step to developing an action plan for strengthening Emergency Medical Services and fire protection across the Yukon,” said Cathers. “This will be an opportunity for fire chiefs, rural EMS supervisors, First Nation and municipal leaders, the Yukon Medical Association, the Yukon Registered Nurses Association, RCMP, and others to meet with the Premier and Ministers – as well as with senior officials from the Fire Marshal’s Office, EMS, the Yukon Hospital Corporation, and Health and Social Services.”
“In most Yukon communities, our EMS service and fire protection depends on volunteers, and the leadership of rural EMS supervisors and fire chiefs. I believe it’s important that the Premier show these community leaders the respect of sitting down with them every year to talk about their concerns and priorities,” added Cathers. “Rural EMS and fire protection depend on volunteers who are dedicated to serving their communities, and government needs to recognize that in some parts of the Yukon, this service is hanging by a thread – and we need to work together to find solutions.”
The Yukon Government is responsible for EMS, while community fire protection is a responsibility shared with local governments. As part of developing the action plan, he is committed to working with governments, first responders, and other partners to set priorities.
Brad has heard from first responders that an Emergency Medical Services and Fire Protection Action Plan should address issues including:
• Improving recruitment and retention of volunteers.
• Working together to set priorities for training, equipment, technology & improved facilities.
• Providing more locally relevant training opportunities for EMS volunteers and employees, including training tailored to challenges faced in rural and remote areas.
• Providing training and advancement opportunities for paramedics.
• Expanding training opportunities for volunteer firefighters.
• Supporting wellness and mental health.
• Giving more recognition to local experience in the hiring processes to avoid Yukon auxiliary-on-call paramedics being passed over for job applicants from Outside.
• Considering new opportunities for sharing knowledge within EMS, including exploring the feasibility of regularly giving EMS volunteers the opportunity to do ride-alongs with paramedics in Whitehorse, and allowing paramedics the opportunity to share knowledge in rural communities.
• Working cooperatively to improve transition of patients between health care providers, including ensuring seamless patient care.
• Increasing discretionary funding provided to volunteer fire departments to reduce delays in addressing low-cost equipment needs.
Brad’s experience in government includes serving as Minister of Health and Social Services, Minister of Community Services, and Minister of Justice. When he held those portfolios, the government took actions including:
• 911 service expanded to all Yukon communities.
• New 911 call centre opened.
• New EMS call centre built and opened.
• Two new ambulance stations built in Whitehorse.
• Two new fire halls constructed in rural communities.
• New pumper-tanker fire trucks provided to volunteer fire departments.
• Ambulance fleet modernized, including 8 new ambulances in the last mandate.
• Stand-by pay for EMS volunteers implemented.
• Recognizing the contributions of volunteers, including establishing the EMS Volunteer Wall at the Emergency Response Centre.
• 811 Yukon Healthline started.
• Health Professions Education Bursary established.