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Wilson goes to bat for Simcoe County paramedics

(May 28, 2009) Jim Wilson is going to bat for Simcoe County paramedics.  The Simcoe-Grey MPP introduced a Private Member's Resolution in the Ontario Legislature today calling upon the provincial government to resolve an important issue relating to the pensions of numerous Simcoe County paramedics.

"Many Simcoe County paramedics got a raw deal when paramedic services were transferred to the County of Simcoe nearly 10 years ago," said Wilson.  "While their jobs were reassigned, their pensions weren't, meaning many will receive significantly reduced pensions because their transfer did not recognize their years of continuous service."

When area paramedics started with their new employer, the County of Simcoe, their past pensionable earnings were not recognized because of existing pension legislation that forbids the transfer of their pension assets from the Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) to the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS).

"We're grateful that Jim has taken up our cause," said Dave Coursey, a Simcoe County paramedic for the past 33 years.  "We hope the government will support Jim's Resolution and help us get this issue solved once and for all."

"I'm hoping the government will recognize this issue as an oversight and not penalize hardworking paramedics," said Wilson.  "The government's own Expert Commission on Pensions has recommended that the government move swiftly to address this issue and so I'm going to push them to do that and make sure that our local paramedics are included in any solution."

The Resolution will be debated in the Ontario Legislature on Thursday, June 4th just after 1:15 pm.  Constituents can watch the debate on the Legislative Channel on TV or online at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website.

The actual text of the Resolution introduced by Mr. Wilson in the Legislature is as follows:

"That in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario should immediately adopt the recommendation from the government's Expert Commission on Pensions that says, "The government should promptly address the pension arrangements for groups of public service employees affected by past divestments and transfers, whether by allowing these groups to use the group asset transfer process proposed in Recommendation 5-4, or by other means, including negotiations with their representatives," and ensure that any resulting legislation or regulation allows paramedics in Simcoe County who were affected by the divestment of paramedic services in the late 1990s and beyond, to transfer their pensions from HOOPP to OMERS ensuring that these paramedics are not penalized."

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