Paramedic accused of ditching ambulance
A paramedic labour leader is facing charges after an ambulance wasabandoned outside City Hall in the middle of the night just three hoursafter the city workers’ strike began.
A paramedic labour leader is facing charges after an ambulance was abandoned outside City Hall in the middle of the night just three hours after the city workers’ strike began.
After a two-week police investigation, Glenn Fontaine, ambulance unit chair of Toronto Local 416 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, turned himself in at the downtown 52 Division Monday night, a union spokesperson said.
The ambulance, discovered at 3 a.m. on June 22, had a union placard on its rear wheels and its lights were flashing, police said.
Fontaine, a Barrie resident, has been charged with two counts of taking an auto without consent and two counts of “mischief interfere with property.”
He was released from police custody under a promise to appear in court at Old City Hall Aug. 11.
As a paramedic, Fontaine’s duties include driving an ambulance.
CUPE has provided Fontaine with a lawyer, said union spokesperson Pat Daley.
“We don’t use or encourage members to use the employers’ tools of any kind during a strike,” said Daley, who was at a Toronto hotel where strike negotiations continued.
Fontaine’s unit represents 900 paramedics, but about three-quarters of them remain on the job due to essential service agreements.
The ambulance turned up at City Hall the same week that Fontaine threatened to withdraw paramedics during Gay Pride festivities.
CUPE said at the time it didn’t sanction the threat. The Ontario Labour Board, at the urging of the city, subsequently ordered that paramedic service be at full strength during the parade.