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WHEREAS there are many communities along the provincial borders that could benefit from cross-border emergency medical responses;AND WHEREAS currently there are barriers to having EMS responders cross provincial boundaries to provide services on a regular basis, due to different standards and qualifications for certification;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC work with SARM (Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities), and the appropriate provincial departments to eliminate any barriers to having EMTs and paramedics cross provincial boundaries to provide first medical responses to residents on either side of the provincial boundary.
More recently the County of Cypress has tried to negotiate an agreement with a Saskatchewan based first responder service. A number of the Burstall fire department members hold Saskatchewan EMT designations. During the negotiations it was pointed out that they could not attend to incidents that were not considered life or death emergencies without becoming certified under the Alberta College of Paramedics. This would require additional testing and schooling which they are not prepared to do for a number of reasons. As a result, no agreement was reached.A lot of Albertans live outside of large centres where medical response is close by. When a service is available from across the provincial border, residents should not be denied the best service than is possible just because there is a provincial boundary, and standards vary between regulatory agencies on either side. It seems sometimes that regulatory agencies are governed by people who live near immediate medical services, and do not understand that there are many people who must wait a long time for responders to appear. People in rural areas along the borders should not be disadvantaged because of contrived regulations which are barriers to providing medical services to those who need them in a timely manner.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.
In April of 2009, Alberta Health and Wellness provided additional information to the AAMDC. The scope of practice for the three levels of paramedic practioners (emergency medical responders, emergency medical technician-ambulance, and emergency medical technician-paramedic) tends to be broader in Alberta than Saskatchewan. As a result, practitioners from Saskatchewan do not have the same training and competencies as Alberta practitioners. As a result of recent amendments to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), the Alberta College of Paramedics is working with their counterparts across Canada to identify the differences in the scopes of practice in the various jurisdictions. Once the differences in scopes of practice and competetencies are determined, the College can decide how practitioners from Saskatchewan can be registered in Alberta and practice safely. One of the options being considered by the College is to give practitioners from other provinces a restricted practice permit which would allow them to practice to the level of their competence.The AIT allows provinces to restrict mobility for certain progessions from other provinces if there are differences in scopes of practice between Alberta and the other provinces through posting a legitimate objective exception. These objections must be based on protection of the public. Alberta is proposing a legitimate objective exception for the paramedic profession in other provinces as a result of the hgiher scope of practice in Alberta. This does not mean practitioners from other provinces wont be able to practice in Alberta; some assessment of the qualifications may be required and their practice may be restricted.The AAMDC will continue to monitior the decisions made by the Alberta College of Paramedics and will continue to urge for the elimination of barriers in having EMTs and paramedics to cross the provincial boundary into Alberta.