Frequently Asked Questions
Who appointed the first Board of Directors?
The idea to restart a paramedic association in Ottawa had been tossed around since the City of Ottawa amalgamated in 2001. Multiple paramedic services throughout the former Region of Ottawa-Carelton and surrounding areas had been amalgamated into Ottawa Paramedic Service. It was advertised in the early versions of EMS Updates. The people who responded to these advertisements were invited to a "first meeting" and these people were then deemed the Interim Board of Directors until the Bylaws were drafted and the first election was held.
Will I get a chance to elect an Executive?
Yes, the Executive is comprised of Officers and Directors. Elections now occur every 4 years in line with federal, provincial and municipal terms. Full members may run for any position on the Executive.
Will the PPAO engage in labour bargaining?
No. It is not the intention of the PPAO to be involved in any labour issue. We will strictly deal with patient care and professional issues. Paramedics in Ottawa currently pay dues to CUPE503 and CIPP. It is this union who is responsible for all labour issues.
Why should I join?
Please refer to the benefits of being a member and keep in mind that politicians tend to choose the path of least resistance. We need to ensure that we do not provide them with that path. The paramedic association also allows paramedics to have an official consolidated voice and steer our profession.
Where will my annual membership dues go?
The PPAO currently charges $20/month ($240/year) per member and that amount includes Legal Expense Insurance for all members.
Of that amount, the Ontario Paramedic Association receives $84/year
Of that amount, the Paramedic Association of Canada receives $15/year and Canadian Paramedicine Magazine receives $26/year.
As you can see, PPAO dues give you membership in 3 organizations + 1 national magazine subscription.
Isn't $20.00/month a lot of money to ask for an association?
Actually, compared to other Medical Professionals and Paramedic associations, $20/month is one of the lowest membership dues in the province of Ontario. Your $20/month actually gives you membership to 3 associations (PPAO, OPA, and PAC).
The OPA and PAC have spent years building their public image and have both become widely recognized by politicians. All local politicians were initially informed that the PPAO is a spin-off of the old Ottawa-Carleton Paramedics Association which has a credible history here in Ottawa.
Here are some annual rates of other associations so you can compare (note most association rates include union dues - so please calculate accordingly):
- $546 - CIPP
- $890 - CUPE
- $1223 - Ornge
- $1997 - County of Renfrew Paramedics
- $1315 - Ottawa Hospital RN
- $1339 - Ottawa Fire
- $3094 - Airport Fire
- $1717 - Ottawa Police
- $1274 - OPP
- $240 - Professional Paramedic Association of Ottawa
- $786 - PPAO + CIPP (lower than any other dues)
- $1139 - PPAO + CUPE (lower than any other dues)
Is it possible for me to get involved?
Absolutely, an association can only be as strong as it's membership and everybody is encouraged to get involved. If each paramedic contributes 1 day per year, we can have incredible achievements.
How do I get involved?
The first step is to become a member. Once you are a member you can either become elected to the Executive, be part of a committee, or attend meetings where you may express your views and vote on issues.
Can I still participate in projects if I'm not on the Board of Directors?
Of course, if you are a member you can spearhead or get involved in any project you wish as long as the Board of Directors has approved it as an official PPAO project. For a project to be approved, it must win a majority vote by the Board of Directors.
What if I am not a Paramedic, can I still join the PPAO?
Yes, anyone with special interest (Communications Officers, Equipment Supply Technicians, Equipment Controllers, Paramedic Students, support staff, etc) can join the PPAO.
The dues to become an associate member are $17/month or $204/year.
The dues to become a student member are $89.65 (Year 1), $89.65 (Year 2) or $159.65 (Year 1 & 2).
The dues to become a corporate member are listed
What if I'm already a member of the OPA?
Your OPA membership dues will be adjusted so that you will not incur any extra costs. Once you have joined the PPAO, your local association will then be responsible for renewing your annual membership with the OPA & PAC.
What is the PPAO going to do for me?
Given it's convenient location in Canada's capital, the PPAO is going to be instrumental in supporting incredible initiatives that have already been put in motion by the OPA and PAC. The next few years will produce enormous rewards for paramedics. Here is a short list of some of our initiatives:
- we will build a strong united voice in Ottawa that will finally allow us to represent professional Paramedic issues and patient-care concerns in front of the public and in the media
- through extensive networking with the media and other groups, we will ensure community recognition of Ottawa Paramedics as professionals
- we will make sure Ottawa Paramedics participate in critical issues that have the potential to affect the future of our profession
- we will ensure effective representation of Ottawa Paramedics at the local, provincial and national level
- we will represent the special interest of Ottawa Paramedics on local and provincial steering committees, Medical Advisory Groups, and Special Task Groups, etc.
- we will work towards investigating the need for an Ontario College of Paramedics
- we will work with other political and professional bodies for accreditation and reciprocity in Paramedicine
- we will ensure Paramedics are included in special legislation (currently including police and fire) that will give us access to early retirement with full pension at age 55
- we will support the Paramedic Benevolent Fund and the Tema Conter Memorial Trust Fund
- we will publicly support local charities
- we will network with Paramedics from different chapters in order to reach these very important common goals
What are some of the tangible benefits of membership?
- automatic membership in the Ontario Paramedic Association (OPA) and Paramedic Association of Canada (PAC)
- OPA certificate, wallet ID card, windshield sticker and information package
- automatic enrolment in the Paramedic Benevolent Fund ($3000 to your spouse or Next of Kin and a $1000 scholarship for your children, if you are killed in the line of duty)
- a free subscription to Canadian Emergency News Magazine which contains the OPA and PPAO Newsletters
- a discount subscription to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services Magazine
- discounts for continuing medical education, events, seminars, workshops, and conferences sponsored by the OPA
- discounts for corporate services & purchases as well as the OPA MasterCard program
What are some of the intangible benefits of membership?
- to have a strong united voice in Ottawa representing professional Paramedic issues
- community recognition of Paramedics as professionals
- an opportunity to participate in critical issues affecting the future of our profession
- effective representation at council meetings and government hearings
- a medium through which to become the authors of our own fate
- an association that will work toward establishing an education system which is equitable (i.e. one in which Paramedic education is available through academic institutions for all who wish to further their knowledge)
- an association that will work with other political and professional bodies for accreditation and reciprocity in Paramedicine
- access to continuing medical education
- opportunity to become involved in injury & illness prevention activities as well as charities
- opportunity to network with Paramedics from around the world through the OPA listserver and our Internet homepage OttawaParamedics.ca (launched in the fall of 2003)
- opportunity to represent Paramedics on steering committees, Medical Advisory Groups, Special Task Groups, etc.