On Tuesday, February 16, Council President Melissa Manion announced the College would no longer be able to be the Alberta Chapter for the Paramedic Association of Canada as a result of Alberta’s Bill 46.

We know this brings up many questions for regulated members pertaining to PAC fees paid, annual member dues, liability insurance access and what this means for the future of the profession. Here are some more details to help clarify our current position.

Why is the College no longer the Alberta chapter of PAC?

As part of Bill 46 and the changes announced to the Health Professions Act (HPA), all regulatory colleges must cease any activities of an association nature. This change means we can no longer hold our position as the chapter for PAC in Alberta.

Does this mean my fees will go down?

Yes, the College will no longer collect the $15 for PAC; which means your fees will reduce to $510 for the 2021/2022 membership year.

What is happening with the fees I pay for PAC membership?

As the Alberta Chapter, the College has been remitting your PAC membership fees for you; which made you an automatic member of PAC. As to the $15 collected during the 2020/2021 renewal (and from anyone who registered with the College since October 1) we are working through several mitigating factors to determine how/when those fees are to be settled.

Will my Marsh insurance be cancelled before it expires? What will happen to my current insurance policy through Marsh if I’m no longer a member of PAC?

If you are already a member of the College and already have liability insurance through Marsh, your policy will remain valid until it is set to expire.

Can I still renew my insurance with Marsh through PAC when it expires?

Yes, but if you wish to continue with the Marsh Insurance policy, you will have to sign up with PAC for your own membership to access their member policy.

What happens when I need to renew my insurance? Where can I get Personal Liability Insurance from now on?

You have the option to obtain liability insurance through the College’s group rate provider or through an independent provider. You can also access liability insurance through the Paramedic Association of Canada or the Alberta Paramedic Association by purchasing an individual association membership. More information on each of these options is listed on our website.

Why did the College create its own insurance agreement?

Liability insurance is a regulatory requirement. As the Alberta government continues to eliminate forced association affiliations, the College is not able to promote association membership as the only option to access a group rate on this insurance to meet a regulatory requirement.

Does the College receive a kickback on the insurance agreement it set up?
Does the College benefit in any way from the insurance agreement it set up?

Absolutely not; the College receives no incentives or kickbacks from the liability arrangement.

Can I still apply for the PAC awards if the College is no longer a member?

Yes. All awards presented through PAC are open to all paramedics regardless of membership with PAC.

What does this mean for the relationship between the College and PAC?

PAC remains the only national association for the paramedic profession in Canada, and we value the work they do to advocate for the profession at the national level. While the College cannot be directly affiliated with PAC, we can still collaborate on projects and activities wherever appropriate. The public and the profession are best served when there is both a solid regulator and association.

What does Bill 46 mean for the College’s relationship with APA?

The APA is a standalone association that represents some of the regulated members in the province, and as such the College has collaborated with them where possible. Bill 46: Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 should not impact the College’s relationship with the Alberta Paramedic Association (APA). We hope to continue to work together whenever possible.

Will the College be more involved with APA?

Bill 46 Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 specifically prohibits a College from acting as, or holding itself out as, a professional association, so our interaction is not likely to increase; however, we hope to collaborate with the APA whenever appropriate.

Is this a step back for the profession and the future of the profession?

While PAC does good work at the national level, decisions about healthcare have always been made at the provincial level. It is possible that a commonality across the county can influence provincial decisions, but as yet, we have not seen widespread acceptance of national standards by governments. It is unlikely, from a regulatory perspective, that our withdrawal as an association member at the national level will impact much of how our profession is governed in Alberta.

An interesting theme in healthcare in Canada has certainly been the desire to see national standards, but yet the continuation of provincial jurisdictional application. For instance, the Government of Alberta’s decision to create a clear separation of regulatory and association was no doubt influenced by the issues identified in BC’s regulatory colleges. But while our government agreed with the separation of colleges from associations, they did not agree with mandated amalgamation.

Alberta is in an enviable position when it comes to the decision-making power we have over our own profession. Regulators and government in Alberta have always worked very well together, and despite changes of the party in power, this has remained consistent. The work we are able to do with the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators (COPR) then, such as working to harmonize regulatory practices related to educational requirements, labour mobility and evaluation of international applicants, is up to us to implement without much government involvement.

The College will continue to collaborate at a national level wherever we are able to ensure that the public interest is served by well-trained, competent paramedics. We maintain that the public interest and profession interest is often aligned and look forward to doing our part to see Albertans receiving care from well-supported healthcare providers.

If you have any questions about the withdrawal from PAC or any of the issues related to this decision, please contact the College at communications@ABparamedics.com.