It’s a bit hard to believe that it is the end of August already! I sincerely hope that you all have had an opportunity to take some time for yourself this summer and “recharge the batteries”. As a profession, we have experienced unprecedented pressures which have yet to subside, so the time away from work becomes even more important for our wellbeing.

In this article, I will share a few updates related to Continuing Competence (CC), the CC audit and this year’s renewal. I also would like to share a little bit about the work being done provincially to address the issues within the public EMS system as there have been quite a few.

First, let’s discuss our Continuing Competence program and the proposed Standard of Practice that was circulated for consultation in July. As you may know, the Health Statues Amendment Act (Bill 46) was approved in December 2020 and included some significant changes to the Health Professions Act (HPA) and to the Paramedics Profession Regulation (PPR). As a result, we were required to move the authority which enabled us to have a CC program from our PPR into our Standards of Practice. This move did not change the program itself, however, we were required to consult with our members and stakeholders on the Standard. So, for those who participated, thank you for your feedback. We anticipate the proposed Standard will be effective before the end of 2022.

You may have also heard that the College recently completed a CC audit of some randomly selected members. We continue to refine our processes and have made every effort to ensure that there is minimal impact on members. I personally think we have found a fair approach. Of the members who were selected, only 11% of them were unable to provide the Competence Committee with supporting documentation of their activities. Members who were unsuccessful in meeting the audit requirements were provided with directions and further steps on how to adequately meet the requirements. I want to thank all who participated in the audit as this demonstrates that we are meeting our regulatory obligations.

This audit there were a small number of members who did not want to participate. While I am aware that being selected for an audit can be undesirable, it is a requirement to communicate with the College to help us achieve our regulatory obligations. The few who chose not to communicate with the College were directed to the conduct department to manage. All those who were directed to conduct have subsequently had their respective situations resolved. Ideally, we would like to see no members be directed to the conduct department, so if you happen to be selected for an audit in the coming years, please communicate with us so that we can work together to ensure you are successful in this process.

I want to also give a quick update on the Alberta EMS Provincial Advisory Committee (AEPAC) which was struck by the Minister of Health in January. The committee has worked extremely hard in trying to better understand the issues within our public EMS system and has put forth 50 recommendations to the Minister of Health to consider. Much of the basis of these recommendations came through consultations with you through surveys and town hall meetings. Emergency department offload times, practitioner wellbeing, staffing shortages and increased call volumes were identified as the primary issues and there are recommendations to the Minister which serve to address these. I truly believe that if these recommendations are acted upon, we will see a significant change to the public EMS system. The Minister will receive a final report on Sept 15th, and decisions to act on these recommendations should follow. I will provide updates as they are available.

Lastly, a quick note about renewal. As you know, we changed our registration platform in March to improve the member portal. The move to Alinity has been relatively smooth, but it is a new system to all of us and it will take time to get used to. Please give yourself enough time to familiarize yourself with the new system and start renewal early this year. I believe that once we get used to the new design and format we will find it is easier to navigate through the portal and find the information you need.

With that all said, I wish you all an easy and seamless renewal and look forward to the 2022/2023 cycle.

Tim A. Ford, Registrar