EMERGENCY MEDICAL AND AMBULANCE SERVICES IN CANADA

Dial 911 to call an ambulance in Canada

AT-A-GLANCE

DIAL 911 TO CALL AN AMBULANCE IN CANADA

  • Level of available care and occupational titles for EMS providers (and meanings) differ considerably from province to province
  • “… in some cases [Canadian EMS is] as sophisticated as any in the world and in other cases is very basic.  The lack of federal regulation and the high cost of providing service to what is often and widely scattered and rural population, results in an uneven service from province to province and from region to region within provinces.” (Symons, 122).

HOW CAN I CALL AN AMBULANCE IN CANADA?

HOW DO I CALL FOR HELP?

DIAL 911 TO CALL AN AMBULANCE IN CANADA

Canada providers toll-free access to emergency responders across the country via 911, including for ambulance, fire and police. Even in the most remote territories, dialing 911 will connect you to the nearest call center (though you may be waiting a while for the helicopter or snowmobile to show up).

CAN I CALL FOR HELP ANYWHERE?
WHAT OTHER EMERGENCY NUMBERS CAN I CALL?
WHAT ABOUT IN DISASTERS?
ARE THE RESPONDERS TRAINED?

Yes. The National Occupation Competency Profiles (NOCP) were designed to “define the competencies of paramedic and emergency medical responders within Canada”:

  • Emergency Medical Responder (EMR): Primary Responders in rural areas equipped with basic life support (BLS) skills
  • Primary Care Paramedic (PCP):  Can perform simple invasive procedures with a limited number of medications
  • Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP): Can perform advanced invasive procedures with a wide range of medications
  • Critical Care Paramedic (CCP): Can perform all procedures and deliver all medications as ACP, plus a range of other skills and medications primarily for longer transport times, including 12-lead EKG, rapid sequence intubation, urinary catherization, some lab and x-ray result interpretation et al
  • Intermediate Care Paramedic (ICP): Describes practitioners in grey area between new classifications set by NOCP

Providers now being trained according to new NOCP model may or may not be allowed to practice to full extent of their training, depending on provincial/local regulations, making it difficult/impossible to transfer to other provinces

HOW WILL I GET TRANSPORTED?

Ground Ambulance in Canada

Canadian ambulance requirements are based on the United States federal government’s KKK-1822 Standards.

Air Ambulance in Canada

Air ambulance is available in all Canadian provinces and are provided without charge to residents for medically necessary flights.

WHERE WILL I BE TRANSPORTED TO?
HOW WILL I PAY?

Costs to patients vary between provinces and are determined by differing factors. Rates are set depending on base of funding and whether service is subsidized or not (e.g., charges can range from $0-$700 for initial response to residents in home province).

Several differing funding models are used:

  • Fully subsidized by provincial government: patients don’t pay
  • Heavily subsidized with nominal charge to patient (majority of EMS models): patients pay a little
  • Lightly subsidized with large part of cost borne by patient: patients pay a lot

ADDITIONAL INFO

COMMON EMERGENCIES AND RECOMMENDED VACCINATIONS

Common Emergencies in Canada

  • Blizzards

Recommended Vaccinations for Canada

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), different groups of travelers will require different vaccinations for travel in France:

  • All Travelers:
    • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
    • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine
    • Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
    • Polio vaccine
    • Your yearly flu shot
  • Some Travelers:
    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B
    • Rabies

Read more about travel in Canada at the CDC website:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/canada/ (Last accessed: Aug. 7, 2017)

HISTORY
GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT

Each province/territory is responsible for own EMS system, resulting in 13 distinct EMS systems across Canada. The federal government has no direct control over ambulance service delivery, thus every funding and service delivery model — except fully private — is represented:

  • Delivery Models:
    • Provincially-managed Services
    • Regionally-/Municipally-managed Services
    • Municipal/Regional contracted services
  • Service Providers:
    • Free-standing ambulance providers
    • Fire Department-based
    • Hospital-based
  • Operational Models:
    • Publicly-operated
    • Publicly-contracted
    • Mix of public/private (minority)
REFERENCES
  • Paramedic Association of Canada: “National Occupational Competency Profile for Paramedics.” October 2011 [PDF]
  • Symons P, Shuster M. “International EMS Systems: Canada.” Resuscitation 2004;63:119-22.

SCOREBOARD

% of Seriously Injured Transported by Ambulance in Canada, 2013

>75%

[Source: 2013 Global Status Report on Road Safety, WHO]

Road Traffic Injury Deaths
(per 100,000 population)

  • Canada
  • Russia
  • United States

[Source: 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety, WHO]

Reported Homicides
(per 100,000 population)

  • Canada
  • Russia
  • United States

[Source: 2014 Global Status Report on Violence Prevention, WHO-UNDP]

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Comments
  • GK

    Great site. Some outdated information about Canada though. Thanks for compiling this information.

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