Join the College for the 2016 Annual General Meeting!

All practitioners are invited to attend the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM), which will be held on Friday, October 21st in Red Deer. In addition, the 2016 Council Elections will be held in conjunction with the AGM. This year there are an unprecedented eight candidates running for four Council positions. Each candidate will have an opportunity to present five minute speeches. Following the speeches, an election will be held. “This is a great opportunity to contribute and I encourage all practitioners to attend the AGM, vote and help make a positive contribution to the future of paramedicine in Alberta.” Tim Essington, Executive Director & Registrar

To learn more about the Council candidates’, their pictures and biographies are available on the College’s website.

Council candidates include:

  • Ian Burgess, EMT
  • Pete Helfrich, EMT-P
  • Melissa Manion, EMT-P
  • Amber McDuffe, EMR
  • Ian McEwan, EMT-P
  • Brian McMeekin, EMT-P
  • Lance Sheppard, EMR

The Election Procedure

A special voting ballot will be used for voting and the results will be announced at the AGM once the ballots are counted. If you are unable to attend you have the option to fill out a proxy form and have a representative bring this form to the AGM.

For those not able to attend in person, voting can be done by proxy using the form available here.

Awards Ceremony

The 2015 Awards Ceremony will be held following the AGM and recognize 29 paramedics for setting standards of excellence in the field of paramedicine! Awards distributed this year include:

  • 22 Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medals
  • 3 Jim Olson Memorial Awards
  • 1 EMR Exam Achievement Award
  • 1 EMT Exam Achievement Award
  • 1 John Ross Paramedic Mentor Award and
  • 1 Outgoing Council Member will be recognized.

The Exemplary Service Medal was created by the Governor General of Canada and recognizes paramedicine professionals for their exemplary manner, good conduct, industry and efficiency. More information about the Exemplary Service Medal can be found here.

The Jim Olson Memorial Award was created in memory of Jim Olson, a paramedic and long-standing, valued member of the College’s Examination Administration Committee. Members of the Olson family will be in attendance to present the awards.

The Exam Achievement Awards recognize the individuals with the highest overall score on the Emergency Medical Responder and Emergency Medical Technician provincial exams.

There will also be one John Ross Paramedic Mentor Award recipient this year. The John Ross Paramedic Mentor Award is a peer nominated award created in memory of John Ross an exemplary paramedic.

We will also be recognizing one outgoing Council member for all his selfless work and positive contribution on Council at the Awards Ceremony.

Those in attendance will receive five (5) continuing competency credits as this event allows practitioners the opportunity to be further engaged in the profession by understanding the business and process of the College and the future of the profession.

Event: 2016 Annual General Meeting
Date: Friday, October 21
Registration: 7:00 – 9:00 am
AGM: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (noon)
Awards: 2:30 – 4:30 pm
Location: Sheraton Red Deer Hotel

We look forward to seeing you there!


Finding Legitimate Sources For Professional Development

Information, information, information… It’s everywhere. So how do you know if the information you’re finding on the Internet is legitimate? Here are a few things to consider when trying to obtain high quality, legitimate sources for professional development.

About the Creator

Consider the ‘creator’, do they mention their experience with the topic or list their credentials? Generally, if someone is an expert in a particular area, they will identify their expertise by providing their credentials and list experiences on the subject matter. Be cautious of a source where the creator does not specify their credentials and experience in any way. A search engine is an excellent tool when searching for more information about a person or organization providing professional development activities. Reviews are also another way to gain information about a specific activity or provider, it can give you an idea of what others have experienced and what they think of the training being offered.

Evaluate the Quality

If the training is provided online, consider when it was published and if the website is regularly updated. Not all websites post the last modified date; however, if they do post the date, check to see if it’s reasonably up-to-date. Does the author cite sources? When an author cites sources, it legitimizes their work by illustrating not only their own knowledge of the topic but links you to other experts in the field who may also provide the training you seek. Do others cite the author or creator on their websites as a resource? To find this out, go to a search engine and type “link:(website name)” and a list of websites that have links will be listed.

Ask Questions

Do you have any questions regarding the content of the activity? If so, contact the provider and ask the questions. The provider should get back to you in a timely fashion with answers to your questions and/or concerns. Be wary of websites that do not provide contact information this may indicate a lack of quality. Generally, if a website is providing activities for professional development, they should also be making themselves available to their customers for questions and answers. Another option is to ask your colleagues; they may have some experience with the provider and training you are interested in. If not, they may be able to review the online source you are researching and give you another opinion.

Accredited courses

To further authenticate the source, have a look to see if it has been assigned professional development or continuing competency credits from another regulatory body or association. If so, this would mean the source is supported by a legitimate organization. Another method to find professional development activities is to look at other organizations within the related field of practice to see what professional development activities are being recommended. In this case, the organization has most likely selected or approved this training as being a legitimate source for professional development.

Finally, be passionate about what you do! Be inspired by yourself and those around you. Embrace the learning opportunities that accent who you already are and support your practice!

Where We Are – A Financial Perspective

After extensive consideration and thorough analysis, Council has had to make the difficult decision to increase fees for next year’s registration, increasing to $525, and fees for exams. (full details here)

It is understood this is not pleasant but this decision is a fiduciary necessity. The Alberta College of Paramedics is a strong regulatory body in the province and is a leader of paramedic governance across the country.

The 2016 projected budget is a $470,000 deficit. For various reasons (including the economy) the exam revenue is expected to be down approximately 20% and registration numbers are less than predicted. It is important to note exam revenue does not contribute to the College budget as exam fees are established on cost recovery basis. It is estimated, registration numbers will decrease this year by about 400 practitioners from 2015. The reduction in exam revenue and registration numbers means a reduction in total revenue.

In addition, the last time the registration fees were raised was five years ago, for 2012 registration and, since then, inflation has gone up about 10%. Every percent of inflation costs the College about $60,000 over the course of a year. It is important to note, the College is funded entirely by the profession and does not receive any government money to operate.

Recognizing the need for a fee increase coincided with the economic downturn, a decision was made to minimize the increase to balance College needs and economic conditions for practitioners. Increasing fees is also not the only step being taken by the College to reduce expenses. Staffing has been frozen, all managers are taking extra measures to reduce expenditures and there are many administration personnel who are doing more than what is defined within their portfolio, to note a few efforts.

Demands upon the College have been increasing on an annual basis and, unfortunately, the budget cannot be balanced only by reducing expenditures. Late last year, the Minister of Health issued a Naloxone Ministerial Order to several colleges – including the Alberta College of Paramedics – to deal with the opiate abuse crisis present in Alberta. This put increased demands upon both College process and personnel. The College had to develop a process for approval of education and alter the information technology system to track restrictions specific to the Ministerial Order. Subsequently, Alberta Health Services contacted the College “requesting” our participation in a process for meeting the requirements for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). This challenging task has required substantial time and effort from the College’s Practice Coordinator, its senior administration and legal counsel.

The mental health work from 2015 continues on many fronts, but suffice it to say, the College Council understands the importance of the mental health initiatives taking place both provincially and nationally and are actively participating in, and contributing to, these initiatives. To this end, the College has taken further steps to ensure practitioners who suffer from any illness are treated fairly and appropriately when it comes to the renewal of their registration.

These things have all taken place while the College administration dutifully prepares for imminent transition into the Health Professions Act (HPA) and carries out the many and varied tasks required of a regulatory body on a day-to-day basis. Regarding the HPA, the Paramedics Profession Regulation, the Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics have been finalized and we await proclamation under the new legislation.

A Legal Reserve Fund is in place in case the College is faced with unexpected and/or prolonged litigation. Such a fund is common for organizations and the decision to have such a fund was a prudent one made by our Council to ensure the ongoing financial stability of the College. The value of such a fund is realized when considering the Alberta College of Pharmacists, which is currently facing a significant legal challenge. While, the College has never faced litigation on such a scale, should it come upon us, we will have the finances to meet the challenge without extraordinary impact on registrants.

A Building Reserve Fund was used to purchase land earlier this year, which will be the site of a future building project. The right time to build in Alberta is now, while trades people are looking for work. We have already saved on the architectural contract and more will be saved on the construction costs as the building develops over the next two to three years. Once the building is completed, current lease payments, which total nearly $250,000 per year, will be replaced with mortgage payments. This will result in direct savings to the College, savings that will increase as the years go by. As Alberta‘s economy rebounds, lease rates will rise and continue to rise while costs will be stabilized over the period of the mortgage. This too is a prudent fiscal decision to control long term costs and expenses.

These efforts will create future financial stability and support the profession, and practitioners, in meeting the evolving demands and increasing responsibilities while maintaining one of the lowest fee structures of any regulatory college in the province.

The fee increases are necessary. Both Council and College administration spent many hours deliberating on the appropriate amount for these increases and the timing of their implementation. Such things are never easy, especially for those who are out of work or have tragically lost their home. However, a profession’s responsibility is always first to the public. The College work is important in that it provides the foundation for paramedicine practice in Alberta and ensures the public is served by a current, competent, skilled workforce, and that must continue.

Continuing competence: A chore or a passion?

So you’ve been asked to stay competent, but you might be wondering why. What’s wrong with the old way of doing things? I mean, you had it right the first time, didn’t you? Why take the time to study something you already know?

But maybe you’re asking the wrong questions. Consider the following scenario: it’s time to get your immunizations. You get to the appointment and have a choice between one of two healthcare professionals to immunize you; however, you quickly discover one of them is not current in practice. You are able to identify who is not current by their tool of choice.


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2016 Mandatory Module Now Available

The 2016 required module, Airway Management and Concepts in Pulmonary Care, has been released!

The need for this module was identified by Alberta physicians at an emergency medical conference. They noted that pre-hospital airway management was not being done well consistently.  The Alberta College of Paramedics then took on the task of developing this module to provide a way for all practitioners in the province to have a current and common understanding of airway management they can apply to their practice.

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Q+A – PTSD and the Role of the Alberta College of Paramedics

What happens when a practitioner discloses a physical or mental health condition to the College?

Update: Additional information and explanations included (April 16, 2015)

This blog is now updated to answer additional questions about the Registration Committee and the College’s role when a practitioner makes known a health condition, like PTSD. Look for the blue and grey headers where further information is provided.


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