Cellphones off limits for firefighters, paramedics

Firefighters and paramedics in Winnipeg are no longer allowed to use their personal cellphones on the job.

The city confirms that it implemented its "electronics and camera use in the workplace" policy on Oct. 25, banning emergency personnel from using their personal phones while they are working.

"The purpose of this policy is to ensure that legislation such as The Highway Traffic Act and the Personal Health Information Act are adhered to by all employees of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service," a spokesperson told CBC News in an email Thursday.

"The policy serves to prevent distractions in the workplace and help ensure the safety and privacy of all personnel, the public, and patients."

Chris Broughton, the head of the Winnipeg Paramedics Union, said his union supports the new rules, but not everyone likes the idea of a cellphone ban.

"There's been a mixed response," he said.

"People today [are] quite attached to their phones and smartphones, and we're just another segment of society."

Broughton said there was no specific incident that prompted the city's new rules on cellphone use.