As of January, 2015, the Minister of Health, Dr. Eric Hoskins, has not yet made a decision on whether paramedic self-regulation will go forward. Stay tuned for further updates as we continue to work with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care on this important issue.
History of events
The Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) is a third party agency contracted by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to advised the Minister of Health on whether health providers should become self-regulated professionals. “On December 20, 2013, HPRAC submitted its report to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on whether the Paramedic profession should be regulated under the RHPA."
The HPRAC Executive Summary stated “
Although we recognize that paramedics are skilled health professionals who have earned the respect of their peers, HPRAC recommends that paramedics not be regulated under the RHPA because the application did not meet our primary criterion threshold for risk of harm and because self-regulation of paramedics is not in the public interest. Although paramedic practice entails a degree of risk of harm to the health and safety of the public, and the current oversight system is overly complex, the oversight system as a whole is sound and adequately addresses risk of harm to patients.
After this report was received, the Minister of Health, Honorable Deb Matthews, called for an additional two weeks of consultation.
It's the Ontario Paramedic Association's opinion, and that of the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs (OAPC) and the Paramedic Association of Canada and many other organizations and stakeholders from Ontario and across Canada,, that the HPRAC report was incorrect in its assessment that paramedics do not meet the threshold risk of harm. We believe the question is not whether paramedics pose a risk of harm to the public, but a question of what is the most appropriate form of mitigation for reducing the risk of harm? What is the most appropriate regulatory system that includes ALL paramedics.
Most Ontario paramedics work under two regulatory bodies:
- The Emergency Health Services Branch of the Ministry of Health
- A Base Hospital system that employs paramedics to provide continuing medical education and investigate complaints, Base Hospital Physicians extend their license to paramedics, enabling them to perform controlled medical acts in the field. These physicians do not provide direct supervision of paramedics in the field. That is, paramedics work under standing orders and function independently in the field, with the ability to contact the physician in uncommon circumstances where a medical order or advice is needed. Under a self-regulation model, paramedics would continue to have the ability to consult with a physician from the field, when needed, but paramedics would be responsible and accountable for the controlled acts that they provide in the field.
Our concern is that the current system is overly complex, as HPRAC acknowledges. It is also inconsistent, outdated, and does not include all paramedics. In fact, we estimate there are between 1,500 and 3,000 paramedics in Ontario who are completely
unregulated. This poses a significant risk to the public and must be addressed through a college of paramedics.
 "Paramedics - Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council." 2011. 8 http://www.hprac.org/en/projects/paramedics.asp