Paramedics in Quebec are fed up -- and half are looking for new jobs

Paramedics across Quebec say they are overworked and underpaid – and many are thinking of leaving the profession.

As many as 70 percent of paramedics are thinking on quitting, according to a survey conducted by the one of the unions representing paramedics in Quebec.

The CSN surveyed 450 of its 3,200 paramedics to find out how they felt about their careers.

In addition to those thinking about quitting, 50 per cent say they have already started looking for new work.

The ATPH, a union representing paramedics around Quebec City found similar findings, too. After surveying 70 per cent of their workers, half of them said the same thing.

The unions say the main reasons for reconsidering their careers are poor management, low pay, poor work-life balance, and a lack of recognition for their work.

"So the salary is a big point because if we compare ourselves with other emergency services -- police officers, fire department -- the salary is not there. For us it's lower, the least paid. Also if we compare with nurses in hospitals same thing. Also the fact we are really busy, there's too many calls,"  said Louis-Pierre Fournier of the paramedics' union. "This results not able to have lunch, some days no lunch at all, also fact we can't finish on time due to same reasons. That's the main points right now."

The surveys come as Health Minister Christian Dube announced earlier this month that paramedics would be asked to assist in long-term care homes and hospitals. It's part of the government's plan to ease the ongoing staffing crisis in the health-care system.

The CSN is currently in the process of negotiating with the government to renew its collective agreement and says it's presented these surveys to the Health Ministry.

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