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Paramedics launch respect in the workplace complaint against Winnipeg fire chief

The union representing paramedics in the city of Winnipeg has filed a respectful workplace complaint with the city of Winnipeg after the fire chief spoke at a firefighters' union conference in the United States.
The grievance filed by the MGEU, the union representing paramedics in Winnipeg, claims the language recently used by Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service Chief John Lane contributes to a hostile work environment. (CBC)

The union representing paramedics in the city of Winnipeg has filed a respectful workplace complaint with the city of Winnipeg after the fire chief spoke at a firefighters union conference in the United States.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union filed the complaint against Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service Chief John Lane last week.

Lane had participated in a presentation called "EMS First Response Facts vs. Rhetoric."

According to the MGEU, the discussion was described at the conference as offering talking points on how Winnipeg's integrated "fire based model is continually threatened by single role EMS providers and misinformed leaders."

The union grievance claims the language used is inflammatory and contributes to a hostile work environment and creates an "us versus them" environment.

"This is inflammatory language that is unbecoming of any leader, and particularly so of the leader of an important service such as the WFPS," the complaint said.

The MGEU complaint goes on to say Lane's participation in the panel demonstrates a "willful disregard for the morale and contributions of ambulance-based paramedics."

The complaint was endorsed by 170 Winnipeg paramedics.

Since the the amalgamation of the fire and paramedic services started in Winnipeg in 1997, the WFPS has struggled with internal conflict on the best way to deliver emergency services.

CBC News has a request in to speak with Lane.

In an email, a City of Winnipeg spokesperson said the city "does not comment on human resource matters."

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