About 1,000 emergency medical technicians are now on strike in Montreal and Laval.

Because ambulance workers are considered an essential service, however, the public may not notice the effects of the strike for some time.

One of the tactics that Urgences Santé workers have at their disposal is to refuse to fill out paperwork for billing patients.

Benoit Garneau, a spokesperson for management, said people who use ambulances will eventually get a bill.

"It's going to be later, so after the strike, after these pressure tactics, we will do the billing," said Garneau.

"The service is not free."

Urgences Santé workers will also delay transporting healthy patients, or those not in urgent medical need. Those people may need to find some other alternative.

The response time for emergency transport to and from hospitals will be maintained, said Luc Beaumont, spokesperson for the union.

“It’s not our goal to diminish in any way shape or form the services to the population,” he said, adding, however, that resources were already stretched before the strike.

Employees are also refusing to carry out administrative work unrelated to the treatment of patients and do basic maintenance on their trucks.

They will also not be on standby at sporting events and festivals.

“We have been granted by the administrative tribunal the possibility of not covering these events,” said Beaumont.

The Urgences Santé employees have been without a contract for two years.

They are fighting for higher wages, a better pension plan, and a better workload.

Negotiations are due to resume next week.