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Launch of the "Zero Tolerance" campaign to counter violence against medical workers

LÉVIS, QC, Jan. 18, 2022 – Dessercom, the largest ambulance and medical transportation company in Quebec, is launching its “Zero Tolerance” campaign to prevent and above all put an end to all acts of violence by the population against paramedics and driver-guides. Through this campaign, Dessercom aims to raise awareness among the Quebec population as well as public decision-makers about the reality of the work of medical workers, the derogatory behaviors to be avoided and the possible improvements to the laws, in order to better protect them.


These medical workers come to the aid of people with limited resources on a daily basis in different dynamic and extra-hospital situations. However, in the performance of their duties, they may in particular be victims of intimidation, aggression or harassment.


As of today, anyone who boards an ambulance or medical transport vehicle of the organization will see posters indicating that no form of physical or verbal violence towards our professionals will be tolerated and that such actions will be reported to the police.


“We want to send a very clear message to the population that we take reprehensible behavior towards our staff very seriously, under penalty of legal proceedings. We want to improve our professionals’ sense of security, because it is not true that these behaviors should be an integral part of their work. We must not trivialize this reality of our caregivers,” says Maxime Laviolette, CEO of Dessercom.

A new tool to protect paramedics

A survey of employees has revealed various situations where paramedics have been confronted with comments from their patients that are sexual, defamatory or misogynistic. Indeed, some people also allegedly bit or spat in the face of the paramedics, pushed them violently to the ground, punched them or touched them.


Thus, as part of this program, Dessercom ordered restraints adapted to the reality of paramedics, the XDCuff. They offer more comfort to patients, in addition to ensuring better safety and quick installation for paramedics.


“When a patient is aggressive or agitated, the use of restraints may be necessary. This is governed by a provincial protocol and must be carried out with the collaboration of the police. Thanks to this tool, we will no longer need police handcuffs or fabric bandages to immobilize our patient on the stretcher. In short, the XDCuffs guarantee better safety for everyone,” adds Valérie Champagne, clinical director.


In addition, Dessercom urges the Ministry of Health and Social Services to accelerate the implementation and training of primary care paramedics in order to be able to administer midazolam, a drug used in particular in cases of excited delirium. This chemical restraint can be another solution in order to ensure better safety for the patient and the emergency responders in a pre-hospital context.


Additionally, Dessercom wants work on Bill C-211 — proposed in February 2020 by the Honorable Todd Doherty — to resume in the House of Commons with the goal of passing the Criminal Code amendment. “This legislative recognition will guarantee better legal protection for many uniformed workers, including paramedics. The principle of this amendment is to establish penalties similar to those inflicted for assaults against a peace officer. We are asking the Government of Quebec to support this bill and the approach surrounding the safety of medical responders,” says Stéphan Scalabrini, director of operations and Quebec representative of the Paramedic Chiefs of Canada.


Dessercom is the first ambulance company in Quebec to deploy this initiative and joins other ambulance services in Canada in this process to counter violence and improve recognition of the dynamic and unpredictable work of medical responders.


About Dessercom

Dessercom, a charitable organization founded in 1968, offers pre-hospital emergency services and inter-hospital medical transport in 14 administrative regions of Quebec. It is with nearly 1,000 professionals and employees that we work to improve health care and the well-being of the communities we serve.

Dessercom paramedics provide quality care in 38 municipalities and surrounding areas: Acton Vale, Amos, Armagh, Barraute, Beaupré, Bedford, Berthierville, Cadillac, Coaticook, Drummondville, Granby, La Patrie, La Sarre, Lac-Mégantic, Lambton , Lebel-sur-Quévillon, Lévis, Louiseville, Lyster, Malartic, Matagami, Notre-Dame-du-Nord, Pierreville, Plessisville, Quebec, Rawdon, Rouyn-Noranda, Saint-Alexandre-de-Kamouraska, Saint-Charles-de -Bellechasse, Saint-Hyacinthe, Saint-Raymond-de-Portneuf, Saint-Sylvestre, Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Sainte-Sophie-de-Lévrard, Témiscaming, Val-des-Sources, Ville-Marie and Windsor.


For further information: For information or interviews: Francis Brisebois, Communications and Government Relations Coordinator, 418 570-2794,