Supporting a Worker's Right to Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle

David Hollingworth, Chair Environment and Climate Change Committee Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC

April 22, 2022 

Re:  Supporting a Worker’s Right to Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle (RTOCEV)

This Earth Day, the Ambulance Paramedics of BC would like to offer a message of hope to the general public and call on workers and labour organizations across the country and around the world to join us in a movement to increase the deployment of clean energy vehicles (CEVs) in private and public sector fleets that will ultimately reduce carbon emissions.

At our Fall Convention in late 2021, the APBC's Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) were pivotal in passing a resolution that supports a worker's Right To Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle (RTOCEV).  This concept can be framed in many ways.  

One, all workers currently have the right to work in an environment free of secondhand smoke, yet exposure to toxic emissions and fuel as a consequence from operating a petroleum-powered vehicle at work is still commonplace.  This is despite appropriate CEVs being available, and these CEVs often being a more cost-effective solution than the fossil fuel-powered vehicles currently in use.  

Second, we know emissions from our traditional vehicles are intensifying the climate crisis, which will have devastating effects on the earth. Workers have the right to protect themselves, their children, and future generations when alternatives to fossil fuel-powered vehicles exist now.

This Earth Day, we would like to focus on declaring a Right To Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle as a way for workers to strongly emphasize that they want to operate a clean energy vehicle where they work, that they want to make these solutions successful in their workplaces, and that they are willing to make changes in their work practices to do so.  We hope that employers will support a worker's RTOCEV, as it is in all of our interests to reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions. 

Since Earth Day 2021, the devastating effects of the climate crisis have become even more apparent in British Columbia.  The summer's heat dome and the fall's flooding and landslides had devastating and catastrophic impacts on our province and has been cause for the APBC to recognize the need for further bold action on the climate file.  Recognizing a worker's RTOCEV is our bold action.  It is time for workers to stop asking their Employers "if" CEVs can work in our field and instead start requesting that we "do" make them work. 

CEVs offer many practical improvements, such as the ability for the cabin to cool and heat more quickly, eliminating exposure to toxic tailpipe emissions, and decreasing operator fatigue due to less vibration and noise.  Workers will, at least in the short term, need to adjust their work practices to accommodate for the shorter range and smaller size of CEVs.  A worker who is not only willing to make these adjustments but is stating they feel it is their right, should be viewed as an excellent asset for fleet operators who are looking to electrify their fleet.  This is an asset that should not be underestimated.

The Ambulance Paramedics of BC is currently seeking to partner with other workers, labour organizations, and Employers who support a Right To Operate a Clean Energy Vehicle.  Interested parties can contact us at for more information.


David Hollingworth, Chair
Environment and Climate Change Committee
Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC
CUPE Local 873

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Also Read Below



B.C.’s Paramedics and Dispatchers Report Adopting Electric Vehicles Could Save Tax Payers $100,000/Vehicle Over 11 Years and Provide a Healthier Work Environment.


VANCOUVER, B.C., May 13, 2021– In the wake of new commercial electric vehicle (EV) incentives announced in January by the BC government, the Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC (APBC) are seeking greater support for electric vehicle trials in the emergency health sector.


With the exception of possibly testing an electric ambulance that is still in development, APBC is unaware of any plans BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) - the paramedics' employer – may have to add electric vehicles (EVs) to their fleet. In comparison, many emergency services in and outside BC began deploying EVs several years ago.


“We see deploying electric vehicles as an exciting opportunity within our fleet. It really is a win-win-win situation.” said David Hollingworth, a local Vancouver paramedic and chair of the APBC’s Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC). “Not only will these vehicles significantly reduce our organization’s carbon footprint, but they will provide our patients and ourselves with a healthier work environment, and could ultimately result in significant savings for the government and taxpayers.”


Hollingworth further explained that a study completed by the ECCC shows that replacing one Paramedic Response Unit (an SUV used for single paramedic response) based in the Langley area would save $65,000 over an 8-year period.  However as new electric vehicles have drivetrains and battery packs that are estimated to last 500,000km, it’s possible these vehicles could have a longer lifespan than a conventional SUV, and therefore see savings of $115,000 over an 11-year period.  These savings would be realized in the cost of fuel, maintenance, and the longer lifespan of the electric vehicle.


BCEHS currently operates over 500 ground ambulances and 180 smaller support vehicles.  These smaller support vehicles are currently the best suited to be replaced by EVs due to the growing number of commercially available small and mid-size EVs, and could help establish some of the charging infrastructure and operational knowledge that would help facilitate the eventual deployment of electric ambulances in the fleet.


The union has been lobbying for the deployment of EV and Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle trials since 2017. BCEHS management has not responded to the union’s request that the fleet be regularly evaluated for potential EV adoption, according to the ECCC.  The BCEHS executive have also declined to act on a union recommendation to bring forward policy on the charging of personal vehicles at BCEHS facilities.


The APBC hope to continue working with the Government of British Columbia to improve the overall health of British Columbians both now and in the future and believe funding and supporting EV pilot projects within government fleets will contribute to a healthier and sustainable environment.  “The B.C. government’s investment of $35.8 million in programs to support fleets (including public fleets) to transition to clean energy is a good start, but unfortunately due to the eligibility criteria is not of much use to us at present.” said Hollingworth.


Both the provincial and federal governments have set targets of 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2040.


About Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC:


Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of British Columbia is the union organization that represents the 4,500+ Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of the province of British Columbia, Canada. Please visit for more information.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:


Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC


Phone: 604 273-5722

 Click HERE for a PDF version of this release.