When paramedicine was first adopted under the Health Professions Act (HPA), it changed the way the profession was governed. Where once professionals had found themselves governed and overseen by other regulated professions, the HPA meant the profession was permitted the role of self-regulation. With self-regulation meant more autonomy in our roles, no more requirement for medical directors (although many employers still mandate this) and it also meant that our Council was made up of 75% regulated members and 25% public members. Since the transition, we have talked a lot about the duties of self-regulation and what that means. And while many of these components remain the same, in April 2021, Bill 30 came into force to require more representation from the public making our structure now one of co-regulation.

What is co-regulation?

Co-regulation means that the profession is now governed by 50% regulated members of the profession and 50% members of the public. For Council, it means members on Council all have the same voting rights and are equally responsible for ensuring decisions made about the regulation of the profession are done so in the public interest. This decision also means that hearing tribunals are also half regulated members of the profession and half public members appointed by government.

Why did the government make this change?

The role of regulators is often misunderstood by the public, not to mention sometimes even the members themselves. A regulator’s role is to make sure a profession is operating honestly, transparently and in the interest of the public that the profession they regulate serves. In this case, the College regulates paramedic professionals to ensure patients receive appropriate care. To ensure this goal is accomplished, the government mandated equal representation of public to profession in the governing role.

Where do public members come from?

All the public members on the College’s Council are appointed by the Government of Alberta. Any member of the public can apply to government to “serve on a public agency board” when there are vacancies. The government goes through an interview process before appointing members to a college Council. Similarly, the government will call for individuals who are interested in serving as hearing tribunal members and a list of appointed public members are available to all colleges (through the Hearings Director) to call to participate in their hearings.

Why is co-regulation important?

Co-regulation means that the profession continues to move forward in a way that is equally beneficial for both the public and the regulated members. Council members all bring diverse backgrounds that helps ensure decisions are made after considering all aspects. In working together, this regulation structure is strengthened. The profession and its requirements are represented at the table and the best way forward in service to the public interest can be determined.

If you have any questions about co-regulation, please email communications@ABparamedics.com.