Quebec paramedics see pay cut for COVID-19 vaccination, testing

Quebec paramedics are being pushed to the sideline if they participate in a government program designed to fight against COVID-19. The front-line health-care workers who

are registered in the JeContribue program are no longer entitled to $32-an-hour pay to vaccinate or test people for COVID-19. The salary for paramedics has been cut to $21

per hour. "Very upset, very frustrated," Marc-Olivier Plante, a paramedic in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec, told Global News. Paramedics were part of a list

of health-care professionals that included nurses and respiratory therapists participating in the JeContribue program when it was launched almost three years ago. It was a

campaign calling on health-care professionals to provide additional services in the battle against COVID-19, outside of their main job. But now the government has changed

the classification of paramedics, resulting in a pay cut when participating in the program. "It's very disrespectful and a big, big betrayal," Plante said. The

paramedic says he has suspended his involvement in the government-run program and doesn't plan to return. Plante's not alone. It's estimated that there are more than

1,000 paramedics involved in JeContribue -- and many are expected to drop out. "With a $21 contribution, I guess we will just do our job as paramedic," Jean-François Gagné,

a paramedic union representative, told Global News. Gagné is telling his members to cease participating when nurses and respiratory therapists continue to make money for

the same work.