New legislation sparks reaction

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Bill will keep paramedics on the job

AMHERST - Reactions from across the province followed after the latest development in the Emergency Medical Care Inc. and Nova Scotia paramedics dispute.

The province will introduce a bill this afternoon, which will keep paramedics on the job. In an effort to avoid a strike, which would put the safety of Nova Scotians at risk, the government felt the best way to accommodate the interests of all parties was through binding arbitration.

The new bill is there to protect Nova Scotians, Brian Skabar, NDP MLA for Cumberland North said.

“It’s a really difficult decision for me and many of my caucus colleagues. It’s a matter of protecting Nova Scotians and it’s an action that needed to be done,” Skabar said.

Skabar said the arbitration process is the best way to go about solving this issue. There were plenty of opportunities for finalizing a contract but nothing developed, so the government stepped in.

“To my knowledge negotiations stopped and have come to a conclusion. If they’re not even at the table now it’s time to take action.”

Each party will get an opportunity to present their final offer and evidence to support their case in an arbitration hearing. The arbitrator will select one of the offers and a decision will be made within 90 days.

Ann Keddy of the Cumberland Health Authority said there’s a feeling of relief after the announcement of the new legislation.

“As far as the district is concerned, we’re relieved that there’s not going to be a strike it appears. We were prepared for one as best we could but we’re very relieved it didn’t come to that.”

Twitter: @ADNthomas

Organizations: Emergency Medical Care, Cumberland Health Authority

Geographic location: Nova Scotians, AMHERST, Nova Scotia

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