The Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board (the “Board”) is a statutory decision-maker established under the Emergency Health Services Act, RSBC 1996, c. 182 (the “Act”). The Board is not part of BC Emergency Health Services (“BCEHS”) or any regional health authority. The Board acts independently of the Government of British Columbia. The Board has jurisdiction over emergency medical assistants, including first responders, emergency medical responders, and all licence levels of paramedics.
The Board receives complaints relating to emergency medical assistants and must process those complaints in accordance with the Act and the Board’s Rules for Complaints, Investigations and Discipline Hearings (the “Rules”).
Upon receipt of a complaint relating to an emergency medical assistant, the Board may dismiss the complaint without initiating an investigation, pursuant to section 4 of the Rules, if it determines the complaint: (a) is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith; (b) does not contain allegations that could lead to a determination that falls within the Board’s jurisdiction under the Act; or (c) does not contain allegations that, if admitted or proven, are sufficiently serious to warrant further investigation.
If the Board does not summarily dismiss a complaint under section 4 of the Rules, the Board may direct an investigation into the complaint under section 6 of the Rules or invoke Section 8 of the Act in which case the Board may (a) set limits or conditions on the practice of the profession by the emergency medical assistant, or (b) suspend the licence of the emergency medical assistant. Section 8 of the Act can be invoked by the Board when it considers it necessary to protect the public prior to the completion of an investigation or until a disciplinary hearing concludes.
After the completion of an investigation, the Board may take any of the steps set out in section 7 of the Rules, including: (a) take no further action; (b) seek to resolve the matter through mediation; (c) resolve the matter with the agreement of the person under investigation by way of an alternative dispute resolution; or (d) direct the Director to issue a citation and proceed to disciplinary hearing.
If the Board proceeds to a disciplinary hearing, the Board may, after a hearing, dismiss the complaint or determine, pursuant to section 7(1) of the Act, that the emergency medical assistant: (a) incompetently carried out their duties; (b) breached a term or condition of their licence; or (c) suffers from a physical ailment, emotional disturbance or an addiction to alcohol or drugs that materially impairs their ability to act as an emergency medical assistant.
If the Board makes such a determination, the Board may, pursuant to section 7(3) of the Act: (a) impose conditions on the emergency medical assistant’s licence; (b) suspend their licence for a term the Board considers appropriate; (c) revoke the emergency medical assistant’s licence; or (d) bar the person from being licensed under the Emergency Health Services Act for a period the Board consider appropriate. The Board does not have authority to provide monetary compensation to complainants (including refunds for fees paid to BCEHS for ambulance services). The Board also does not have authority to compel an emergency medical assistant to provide compensation or a formal apology to a complainant.
Types of complaints include:
- A paramedic or first responder has incompetently carried out their duties.
- A paramedic or first responder has breached the terms and conditions on their licence.
- A paramedic or first responder has breached the EMA code of ethics.
- A paramedic or first responder has a health ailment, impairing their ability to practice safely.
Have a concern about a first responder or paramedic?
The EMA Licensing Board receives complaints about the conduct or competence of first responders and paramedics from patients and their families, employers, colleagues and the criminal justice system. They may also receive complaints alleging that a first responder or paramedic has a health ailment impairing their ability to practice safely.
When you have a concern about a first responder or paramedic, we recommend:
- You contact the EMA Licensing Board.
- You consider pursuing the matter with the employer of the first responder or paramedic.
How to Make a Complaint to the EMA Licensing Board
Anyone may make a complaint regarding the conduct or competence of a first responder or paramedic that is licensed in British Columbia by completing the complaint registration form and emailing it to our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Make a Complaint to the British Columbia Emergency Health Services Corporation
The British Columbia Emergency Health Services Corporation (BCEHS) is responsible for the British Columbia Ambulance Service, and they are committed to putting patient needs first. For more information, please see the Provincial Health Services Authority Compliments and Complaints process.
For EMAs: What happens if a complaint is made against me?
If a complaint is made against you, the board will send you a letter asking you to submit your account of the incident. The board will then review your response and the original complaint.
If the board determines no further action is required, the board will close your complaint file and send you a letter notifying you of its decision.
If the board determines further action is required, it may refer the complaint to the Investigation Committee and you may be contacted by the committee for additional information.
The complaints process flow chart can be found here.
Role of the Investigation Committee
The Investigation Committee is appointed by the board and acts independently. The board refers complaints to the committee for investigation as necessary.
The committee conducts an investigation of the complaint and reports its findings to the board. Based on the findings, the committee will recommend a hearing if it is warranted.
Current Investigation Committee members
- Dr. Peter MacDonald, emergency room physician, chair
- Brian Reichert, paramedic advisor, CCP, member
- Rob Evans, paramedic advisor, CCP, member
- Robbin Norgren, paramedic advisor, ACP, member
- Marc Slabotsky, paramedic advisor, PCP, member
- Jeff Miller, FR advisor, EMA FR, member
What if I want someone to represent me to the board?
You may appoint a representative in accordance with the board’s policy on a representative (PDF, 192KB). The board will only discuss your case with a third party if you submit the Authorization of Representative form (PDF, 264KB) to email@example.com. Your representative may be present during the complaint investigation but may not speak on your behalf.
The board has the right to deal directly with you if it is of the opinion that your representative is not working in your best interest or is obstructing the process.