It is crazy to me that we are already a month into 2023. I hope the holiday season and the start of this year has treated you all well. Most importantly, I wish each of you a happy, healthy and memorable year ahead. I want to take this opportunity to provide a few updates on some big initiatives that are taking place in our profession.
In December, we circulated a survey on behalf of the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators (COPR). This was distributed nationally and it was encouraging to see that almost 4,000 paramedic practitioners from across the country participated. COPR presented the initial drafts for an updated competency profile along with a practice standards document for review and they received a significant amount of feedback. This feedback is now being compiled and will be provided to the project steering committee and stakeholders to inform the final draft. The result will be an updated competency profile that reflects current practice across all jurisdictions for each designation which is an important step towards harmonizing the practice of our profession.
Provincially, on January 16, the Minister of Health released the final report from the Alberta Emergency Medical Services Provincial Advisory Committee (AEPAC). In his statement, Minister Copping announced that he would be implementing all 53 recommendations in that report. I believe that overall, this is a positive step, and while not every recommendation will have a direct impact on the front lines, there are definitely some which when implemented, will be felt immediately. The recommendations on limiting mandatory OT, decreasing ED offload wait times and approving time off should certainly impact our members directly, while other recommendations will have more of a subtle impact. The full report can be found here. I encourage everyone that is interested to find some time to review the report.
As you might notice, in the report that there is a recommendation related to incentivizing precepting of paramedic students. As a reminder, the College offers 30 Self Directed credits for precepting and there continues to be a demand for skilled preceptors. If you are interested in this opportunity, please speak with your employer to find out how to participate.
Lastly, I wanted to provide an update to the work being done by the College in response to the Health Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 46). The College provided two proposed Standards of Practice for consultation last year in anticipation of meeting the deadline for implementation on December 31, 2022. Since then, the government has pushed back the implementation deadline to the spring. Once the changes to the Health Professions Act and Paramedic Profession Regulation are made, these new Standards will take effect. Additionally, the College has drafted a new Standard that is required by the government under the Health Professions (Protecting Women and Girls) Amendment Act. This Standard is currently out for consultation until February 7 and more information can be found here.
I want to thank those of you who take the time to fill out surveys and participate in the member consultations that we send out. I am aware of just how precious your free time is, and I suspect that the last thing you really want to do when you have a few minutes of downtime is to fill out a consultation on a new Standard of Practice. I want you to know that while we are obligated to ensure members are consulted on these regulatory amendments, we truly value the input we get and we implement your suggestions whenever we can.
Thanks again and stay safe out there!
Tim A. Ford