Unifor and Ministry of Health assess changes at Ornge

Unifor and Ministry of Health assess changes at Ornge

June 24, 2016 at 3:45 PM


Brothers and sisters,

On June 15, 2016 the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) issued their investigation report regarding the tragic accident of the Ornge Sikorsky S-76A helicopter on May 31, 2013 which claimed the lives all those aboard. On this tragic day, we lost four colleagues, husbands, fathers, and sons. I would like to say that our thoughts and prayers go out the families of Dustin, Chris, Don and Jacques.

The same day the TSB released their investigation report, Unifor made a public statement requesting accountability and change within the culture at Ornge; change that would see new safety procedures in place to help save lives of critical care patients and members at Ornge. Unifor requested to meet with the Ontario Ministry of Health to discuss these changes and we were pleased to be invited to a closed-door meeting to discuss our concerns. Present from the Ministry was Derrick Araneda - Director of Stakeholder Relations, Joshua McLarnon - Issues Manager and Policy Advisor, Sarah McNally - Senior Policy Advisor to the Deputy Minister’s office, Patricia Li - Assistant Deputy Minister of Direct Services Division and Tarmo Uukkivi, Director of Emergency Health Services Land/Air. Present from Unifor was Cheryl Robinson - President of Unifor 2002, Charles Telky - Chairperson of Ornge Paramedics at Unifor 2002, Michael Chad - Unifor 2002 Committee Member, Dan Lefebvre - Unifor 2002 Committee Member, Mark Etherington - Unifor 2002 Co-Chair / JHSC and Corey Vermey - Unifor Health Care Director.

During the meeting we reviewed the need for greater accountable and transparency of Ornge’s mission, vision and value statements. We also discussed the negligent inactions by Ornge management as well as on-going safety concerns for all individuals in aircraft and those on the ground.

The representatives from the Ministry were interested in what we had to say and assured us that our safety was as much a priority for them as it is for us. They requested that we continue to engage with them, specifically requesting a list of our continued safety concerns and our solutions. The Ministry also identified that they were still in the process of reviewing the TSB report and our hope is we can continue engaging with them until all parties are satisfied that positive changes are made at Ornge.

We would like to thank everyone involved in this important meeting between the government and the union. Special thanks to all those individuals from the Ontario Ministry of Health for taking the time to meet with Unifor and hear our concerns.

The tragic event of May 31st, 2013 cannot be in vain and equally important we can never allow those events to happen again.

Unifor will continue to pursue for accountable and positive change. Once again our thoughts and prayers got out to the families of those we lost. Unifor we will communicate further as developments unfold.



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