British Columbians need fully funded 9-1-1 now: CUPE 8911

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 08, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The COVID-19 pandemic and recent extreme weather events have highlighted the need for properly staffed 9-1-1 emergency call answering and dispatching services more than ever. and fully funded in British Columbia. This is the public message from BC Emergency Communications Professionals (CUPE 8911) for this year’s emergency service dispatchers and 9-1-1 Awareness Week (April 10-16 ).

“When you dial 9-1-1, seconds count,” says CUPE 8911 President Donald Grant. “Lives are at stake, so you cannot afford to be put on hold for several minutes or wait too long for emergency services to arrive because there are not enough staff at E- Comm to answer all incoming calls.”

For this year’s Awareness Week, CUPE 8911 launched its Seconds Count campaign, with bus shelters and billboards located in Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District. Over the past few months, the union has shared the message with municipal agencies and other stakeholders who fund E-Comm: British Columbia’s 9-1-1 service is understaffed and grossly underfunded. unsustainable, and must be “adjusted” immediately to work. correctly and reverse a recruitment and retention crisis.

Recent member surveys only confirm what we already knew from last year’s Price Waterhouse Coopers report, commissioned by E-Comm, which identified critical staffing shortages as a major problem,” says Grant. “Burnout and mental health issues make it difficult for our members to cope with every shift. knowing they’ll have to skip bathroom breaks, take back-to-back calls with no recovery time, and work overtime to make up for dangerously low staff.”

CUPE 8911 has over 600 members in British Columbia, including approximately 90 support staff. Their operators and dispatchers, who answer more than 5,000 emergency calls every day, are the first point of contact for 99% of callers dialing 9-1-1 in British Columbia. E-Comm is the provider of call answering and dispatching services. services for 33 police departments and 40 fire departments across the province.

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Donald Grant, President, Emergency Communications Professionals of BC (Local 8911): 778.898.9081
Dan Gawthrop, CUPE communications representative: 604.999.6132

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