Niagara EMS concludes investigation into workplace incident
On May 22, 2020, the firm Mortimer Khoraych PC was retained by Niagara EMS to conduct an independent investigation into a workplace incident that occurred between April 4-15, 2020 concerning an employee in the workplace being confirmed positive for COVID-19. With the seriousness of this incident, Niagara EMS publicly committed to conduct an unbiased and impartial investigation into the circumstances leading up to this event.
The selection of the investigator was made in consultation with and at the recommendation of CUPE Local 911, the union representing Niagara EMS paramedics and emergency medical dispatchers. Over the course of the past six weeks, no fewer than 21 witnesses were interviewed and the investigator has submitted the report.
Niagara EMS has reviewed the findings of the investigator and has identified areas of concern around this incident. While opportunities exist for system improvement to mitigate against such an event happening in the future, the primary factors influencing this event were preventable and outside Niagara Region policy. While the service will take action to ensure any gaps in processes related to this incident are addressed, any actions taken pertaining to the specifics of the employee(s) involved will remain confidential.
“The safety of all of staff, our colleagues, the public and the patients who we are entrusted to care for and protect is our priority,” said Kevin Smith, Chief, Niagara EMS. “We are grateful that no significant long-term consequences to any other person resulted from this event, and rest assured, the decisions and outcomes of this incident have been assessed with the greatest regard for our people and the community we serve.”
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