Ornge helicopter pilot suspended after public testimony
A Thunder Bay aircraft maintenance engineer has also been suspended with pay
Posted: Aug 7, 2012 1:26 PM ET
Last Updated: Aug 7, 2012 1:32 PM ET
A Thunder Bay helicopter pilot who testified about shortcomings at the Ornge air ambulance system has been suspended with pay. A spokesperson for his union has alleged someone is trying to discredit Bruce Wade.
Wade told a legislature committee last week about staffing and equipment issues at the agency.
When contacted Tuesday by CBC News in Thunder Bay, Paul Bohelski of the Office and Professional Employees International Union said he would not grant a taped interview.
“"I've said enough in the paper,” Bohelski said, referring to a Toronto Star article that was published Sunday.
"We have an investigatory interview scheduled Friday and I don't wanna say anything until after that's done. It's a follow-up to the allegations that were levied against Mr. Wade.”
The OPEIU reported a second union member — an aircraft maintenance engineer who works at the Thunder Bay ORNGE base — has also been suspended with pay.
Ornge has since issued a statement saying it's investigating human resources complaints at the Thunder Bay base, and that the investigation did not arise from anything related to the hearings.
“We can confirm that a third party independent of Ornge will be undertaking an investigation at its Thunder Bay operation as a result of multiple human resources complaints originating at the Thunder Bay base,” said interim President and CEO Ron McKerlie in the release.
“The affected employees are on a paid leave of absence pending the completion of the investigation. As this is a personnel matter, we are unable to comment further."
McKerlie added that, "while we cannot comment on the substance of this matter, we wish to express that this investigation did not arise from anything related to the ongoing Standing Committee on Public Accounts. A number of Ornge employees past and present have testified at these hearings."
He said Ornge supports the work of the Committee and "encourages any employee called upon to testify to cooperate fully.”
Bohelski said Wade is a consummate professional and he's confident the pilot will be exonerated.
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