< Back to Health Workforce

About paramedics

Paramedics administer pre-hospital care to patients with injuries or medical illnesses and transport them to hospitals or other medical facilities for further medical care.

Paramedics are employed by private ambulance services, hospitals, fire departments, government department and agencies, manufacturing firms, mining companies and other private sector establishments.

Data availability

CIHI’s Health Workforce Database (HWDB) collects aggregate-level, standardized data on the regulatory environment, supply, and demographic and education characteristics of paramedics in Canada.

Reports and analyses

Regulatory environment

In Canada, paramedics are regulated in all provinces but not territories.

Practice criteria

To practise as a paramedic in Canada, an individual must register with a provincial regulatory body or government as required. The requirements to obtain a licence are similar across the country but can vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another.

Common requirements

  • Complete a recognized training program— emergency medical responder (EMR), primary care paramedic (PCP), advanced care paramedic (ACP) or critical care paramedic (CCP)
  • Pass a provincial registration examination, which might vary depending on the paramedic level (applicable in most provinces)
  • Register with a provincial regulatory body or the provincial government as required

Scope of practice

The scope of practice for paramedics is articulated in provincial/territorial regulatory legislation, which outlines the range of responsibilities that define the boundaries of professional practice.

Specific roles vary between paramedic levels (i.e., EMRs, PCPs, ACPs and CCPs); however, all paramedics follow professional competencies, which includei

  • Professional responsibilities
  • Communication
  • Health and safety
  • Assessment and diagnostics
  • Therapeutics
  • Integration
  • Transportation
  • Health promotion and public safety

 i. Paramedic Association of Canada. National Occupational Competency Profile for Paramedics. 2011.