April 24, 2014 1:29 pm
Updated: April 24, 2014 1:50 pm

Commissioner calls for bilingual ambulance crews in New Brunswick

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FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s official languages commissioner is urging the Health Department to order Ambulance New Brunswick to have bilingual ambulance crews.

Katherine d’Entremont’s recommendation follows her investigation into an incident in September 2013 when she says the two ambulance attendants dispatched to help a Dieppe resident were unable to speak French.

D’Entremont says attempting to assist a person without speaking his or her language may have life-threatening consequences.

She says the contract between Ambulance New Brunswick and the provincial government contains a provision on compliance with the Official Languages Act.

D’Entremont says her office has written six reports on Ambulance New Brunswick over the last seven years and the Department of Health must ensure that corrective measures are taken.

In d’Entremont’s report, Ambulance New Brunswick says bilingual paramedics are normally available, but in this case, the bilingual paramedic did not report for work that day due to personal reasons.

Ambulance New Brunswick says that paramedic was replaced by a unilingual paramedic in order to keep the ambulance in service.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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