New language ensures that new employees have time to meet with their steward and learn about the collective agreement. Other language improvements relate to vacancy notices and steward representation. The employer also pays 100% of the bargaining committee costs and the pressure of collective agreements. The agreement was ratified on 9 September 2015. Local 175 held an information meeting for members with the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and held a vote on whether or not to participate in HOOPP. The Union has received a 100% mandate from members to include the defined benefit pension scheme in the next collective agreement. In early 2014, members of the Muskoka Paramedics Association voted overwhelmingly in favour of a merger with Local 175. The merger agreement meant that our local union was focused on negotiations on improving pensions and benefits. Further improvements are made to wage increases totalling 4.1% over the life of the agreement.

Workers with a seniority of five years or more receive a 100% payment under the severance package. Muskoka Paramedics were one of the few paramedics in Ontario who did not have a defined benefit retirement plan: their plan was to reconcile unsecured contributions for the pension benefit they would receive. Previous attempts to improve pensions had not been successful. Union Negotiating Committee: Mike Cartwright, Brad Davies, Roy Lovold, Paola Oke and Region 8 Director Chris Fuller. “This show of solidarity from our members has allowed the Union to go to the negotiating table in a position of strength to resolve this long-standing problem,” said President Haggerty. “Our paramedics work every day to protect us all. They deserve the respect and a well-deserved retirement they can count on.¬†From left to right: Travis Larade, Andrew Kuebler, Mike Cartwright, Chris Fuller, Roy Lovold, Jodi Armstrong, Paola Oke and Brad Davies, employees can now use 72 hours of their paid sick time each year for family vacations compared to the previous 48 hours allowed. The weekly allowance limit increases to $1,200 and the long-term disability to $5,200. The $300 chiropractic deductible has been eliminated.

Food money increases to $13, and workers can now deposit multiple receipts per day instead of the previous maximum of one. After eleven days of negotiations and the tenacity of the EU negotiating committee, a new three-year memorandum of understanding was reached with participation in the HOOPP benefits programme.