$1.25 million pledged to prepare paramedics for situations of assault and abuse in Mississauga and Brampton


Published August 2, 2023 at 11:26 am

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Regional Council has recently pledged $1.25 million in funding for a program to help prepare paramedics for potentially violent or abusive situations in Mississauga and Brampton.

In 2019, Peel Regional Paramedics launched a workgroup called External Violence Against Paramedics (EVAP) to find potential solutions to the violence experienced by paramedics on the job.

According to a report presented to Council, one Peel paramedic reports a form of violence every 18 hours, a physical or sexual assault every 46 hours, and is physically injured due to assault every nine days.

A survey of Peel paramedics conducted by EVAP indicated that paramedics had regularly been exposed to some or multiple forms of violence (such as verbal abuse, physical assault, and sexual harassment), and that many of them had simply normalized their experience as being “part of the job.”

One such example was publicized earlier this year in April, when a female paramedic was sexually assaulted while providing medical care. Police said the suspect in question had demonstrated an increased fixation toward female first responders.

A 34-year-old Brampton man was charged with two counts of sexual assault.

“Paramedics exposed to acts of violence are at risk of potentially significant physical and psychological harm, including operational stress injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and suicide,” said the report from Nancy Polsinelli, Commissioner of Health Services.

At a meeting in July, Regional Council approved a one-time cost of $1.25 million to resource a Conflict Avoidance and Threat
Management training program for Peel paramedics.

The program aims to use early recognition of risk and threat management to help paramedics “avoid or manage situations which could result in psychological or physical harm.”

“Providing paramedics with additional knowledge and skills, teaching them to leverage existing policy, legal authorities, and the EVAP program initiatives empowers and enables them to make decisions that would keep them safe,” says the report.

The $1.25 million in funding will be brought forward in the 2024 budget request process.

The full report is available here.

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