The Emergency Health Services Act requires emergency medical assistants working in British Columbia to be licensed by the Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board.
There are currently six levels of Emergency Medical Assistant (EMA) licences in British Columbia; each licence level increases the services EMAs may provide. The exception to this is the infant transport team that builds on primary care paramedic services but not advanced care or critical care paramedic services.
An EMA can only hold a licence in one category at a time. The services each licence category may provide are described in Schedule 1 of the Emergency Medical Assistants Regulation. A licensee can also be endorsed to perform additional services described in Schedule 2 of the regulation.
First responders typically work as fire fighters/fire rescue providing emergency services such as scene assessment, CPR, and basic wound and fracture management until higher level licensed emergency medical assistants arrive on the scene.
Emergency Medical Responder
Emergency medical responders provide basic emergency services, typically in rural and remote areas.
Primary Care Paramedic
Primary Care Paramedics provide intermediate level emergency services in all areas of the province.
Advanced Care Paramedic
Advanced care paramedics specialize in advanced life-support, including advanced cardiac care.
Critical Care Paramedic
Critical care paramedics specialize in critical care services and transport (including air transport).
Infant Transport Team
Infant transport teams specialize in the critical care of high risk maternity, neo-natal and pediatric patients (including air transport).
Getting an Emergency Medical Assistant licence in British Columbia is a three-step process:
- Complete your training program that has been recognized by the board.
- Pass the examinations for your licence level that have been approved by the board.
- Apply for your licence.
Minimum Age Requirement
The Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board has the following policy in place for the registration of emergency medical assistants under the age of 19:
- No Emergency Medical Assistant licences will be issued to applicants under the age of 16;
- All licence holders 16, 17 or 18 years old must be supervised by a fully licensed emergency medical assistant of the same level or higher who is at least 19 years old. This term and condition is removed when a licence holder turns 19.
This policy is in place to ensure public safety and the safety of young individuals working as emergency medical assistants.