August 29, 2022: Ambulances Sitting Empty in Northern BC.

August 29, 2022: Ambulances Sitting Empty in Northern BC.

The Ambulance Paramedics of BC ( continue to warn of ongoing staffing issues in Northern BC, particularly in areas such Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace, Houston, Burns Lake, and the highway 16 corridor. “All too often, we see BCEHS struggling to keep ambulances staffed, much like many other areas of BC. The NAorth has chronically had issues with staffing levels, but we are seeing far too many ambulances sitting empty,” warns Troy Clifford, President of CUPE 873, the Union representing over 4,500 ambulance paramedics and emergency dispatchers. Additionally, over the last week, we have seen scenarios where Prince George has been down to one staffed ambulance on a night shift. We see similar pressures in the Hwy 97 corridor, including Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

“There are regular scenarios whereby communities do not have any additional resources when their ambulance is unstaffed or sent out of town on a cross-cover or transfers. We are talking about hours for another ambulance to respond, which can be coming from hundreds of kilometres away. Hospitals, clinics, and treatment centres are short-staffed or on redirect, sending local ambulances to other communities while their home base is left uncovered. BCEHS is playing a risky game.”

While staffing challenges are nothing new in the last few months and go back years, according to the Ambulance Paramedics of BC, BCEHS is way behind in recruiting and retaining staff, directly reacted to our precarious On-call model and disparity in wages and benefits with other professions in public safety and health. “We are seeing a big push on hiring from BCEHS, something that we have been pleading with them to do for years, but only now, when we are in the middle of a crisis, have they made it a priority. This was completely foreseeable, and nobody would act,” says Clifford.

For more information, please contact:

Troy Clifford, Provincial President, 250.319.4713, | 604.273.5722 |