Becoming a Paramedic
In Ontario, high school graduates who wish to become paramedics must attend a recognized paramedic program at a Community College. Almost all college Paramedic programs are 2 years in length.
Generally colleges require the following prior to the start of their program:
- Current Standard First Aid (or equivalent) certificate
- Current CPR (C) - Basic Rescuer level (or equivalent) certificate
- Senior Biology high school course (grade 11 or higher)
- Senior Science high school course (other than biology)
- High School graduation diploma
- Class 'F' Drivers License - Ontario
- Current Immunizations (including Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox -if needed-, & flu shot recommended)
- Be Communicable Disease free
- Be physically fit & able to lift
- Possess good communication skills & be able to fluently read & write English (French also required for francophone programs)
- Be at least 18 years old prior to beginning preceptorship (on-the-job) training
Information on the A-EMCA provincial certification exam
Upon completion of the college Primary Care Paramedic program, graduates are eligible to write the Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant (A-EMCA) examination. Candidates for the A-EMCA are offered 3 attempts to successfully pass (70% required) the exam before remedial training is required & may work for an ambulance service for up to 210 days while preparing.
If you are attending an approved institution that offers the paramedic program, your institution should be contacting the MOHLTC-EHS Branch office to obtain application packages for all of their students, prior to graduating.
For more information on the A-EMCA, please contact:
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Emergency Health Services Branch
Patient Care Standards, Education and Certification5700 Yonge Street, 6th Floor
North York, ON M2M 4K5
Tel #: (416) 327-7813 Fax #:(416) 327-7911
Toll Free 1-800-461-6431
Fore more information on Ontario Paramedic Medical Directives, please contact:
Ontario Base Hospital Advisory Group
Paramedic Labour Mobility
If you are interested in becoming a paramedic in Ontario please determine which of the following best describes your starting point:
- If you have no paramedic training
- If you are a certified paramedic from a province or territory other than Ontario
- If you are a certified paramedic from outside of Canada
Each respective scenario is broken down into some quick and easy steps to provide you with the information you require.
1) If you have no paramedic training:
If you have no previous paramedic training and you are a Canadian resident interested in becoming a paramedic in Ontario, you must do the following:
- Attend an Ontario College to become a paramedic.
- Please visit our schools link to find out which colleges offer paramedic programs.
2) If you are a certified paramedic from a province or territory other than Ontario:
If you are currently certified as a paramedic in a province other than Ontario but you would like to determine how to achieve labour mobility so you may become a paramedic certified to work in Ontario, you must perform one of the following:
- STEP 1 - Visit the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators (COPR) which is an agreed upon comparator tool for use by Canadian paramedic practitioners. The tool is a guide to help you assess gaps that occur from province to province. Licensure of paramedics is the responsibility and domain of the various provincial regulatory bodies. Consult the provincial regulators for final decisions regarding practice.
- STEP 2 - Visit the Ontario Ministry of Health - Ontario Paramedic Equivalency Process to present your experience and qualifications on a case-by-case basis, to determine eligibility to challenge the AEMCA Theory Examination. The Equivalency Process for all applicants involves two phases - validation of educational and work experience, and qualifying evaluations.
- STEP 3 - Follow the Labour Mobility process as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Health (contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you require specific information on the Labour Mobility process).
- STEP 4 - Apply to a Paramedic Service for employment.
- STEP 5 - Upon successful employment you must become certified to perform specific Delegated Medical Acts under the license of an Ontario Base Hospital Medical Director.
3) If you are a certified paramedic from outside of Canada:
If you are currently certified as a paramedic in a country other than Canada or you do not meet the Labour Mobility equivalency requirements within Canada and you would like to determine how you may become a paramedic certified to work in Ontario, you will need to follow one of the following two processes when applying to work in Ontario (1) Labour Mobility Process or (2) The Standard Equivalency Process. The Standard Equivalency Process will be more complex and time consuming than those paramedics who can achieve reciprocity under the Labour Mobility Process.
- STEP 1 - Visit the Ontario Ministry of Health - Ontario Paramedic Equivalency Process to present your experience and qualifications on a case-by-case basis, to determine eligibility to challenge the A-EMCA (Advanced Emergency Medical Care Attendant) Theory Examination. The Equivalency Process for all applicants involves two phases - validation of educational and work experience, and qualifying evaluations.
- STEP 2 - Follow Standard Equivalency process as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Health.
- STEP 3 - Apply to a Paramedic Service for employment
- STEP 4 - Upon successful employment you must become certified to perform specific Delegated Medical Acts under the license of an Ontario Base Hospital Medical Director.
International Paramedic Equivalency
By: Peter Perryman
My name is Peter Perryman. As a paramedic who originally hailed from the UK, I can give you a 'personal perspective', which I hope will help.
I previously worked for Essex (now amalgamated into East of England) on the London Ambulance Service border and moved to Ottawa in 2000. The time of my very first enquiry with MOHLTC to my first actual road shift was 2 years. A year of that was preparing to move and dealing with Canadian immigration and legal requirements - the second year was the testing, interviews and orientation to the service.
So consider this a long term project - it's not going to happen overnight!
There were two major issues I had to deal with.
Canada has an immigration policy that changes according to the needs of the country and workers that it requires (as well as a proactive approach to providing a country for refugees).
For example, in 2000 they were looking for skilled High Tech workers, so these scored highly on the 'points system' that becomes an indicator of how eligible you are for entry into the country. The criteria may change yearly so take a look at the Immigration Canada website at:
I suggest you also spend a lot of time on this site looking at the information. It will help you decide if you stand no chance, a small chance, or clearly meet whatever the current criteria is - and whether you need to hire an immigration lawyer. Your first hope is that you qualify as a 'Permanent Resident'. This gives you the same rights as a Canadian citizen EXCEPT voting rights and access to some jobs in Government. You will also need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family until you have work.
Equivalency involves providing written documentary evidence to the MOHLTC with proof of when, where and how you were trained [e.g. the content of the Technician's course (I did mine at Banstead in Surrey and our accommodation was at the Netherne Psychiatric Hospital!) or the university course], all on-the-job training, the paramedics course, etc.
When I had finished I had six binders of training notes, certificates and courses that I had done. I then sent them via courier to MOHLTC in Toronto. Once this is reviewed and approved by the board (definitely NOT a formality, but the Ministry is becoming more familiar with UK training and certification processes) you can proceed to the testing phase. This involves both written and practical scenarios (cardiac arrests, various medical conditions, etc).
The written part involves 6 hours of exams on clinical, pathophysiology and Canadian Law. (You can buy most of the relevant material from the MOHLTC online). You can reattempt those components of the exam that you might fail the first time. I know of people who have flown over from the UK to Toronto specifically to write the exams and fly back the next day.
Having reached this point and achieved 'Equivalency' allows you to apply for a job with an Ambulance Service. The whole process begins again with each Service having its own hiring process, which typically includes written exams, scenario testing and an interview to their satisfaction. One reason for all this is that in Canada you go to college for 2 years and take a paramedic course, THEN apply for a job with a service. In the UK, they offer on-the-job training.
A major stumbling block I encountered was a Catch-22 situation between Immigration and the City of Ottawa with whom I had applied to work as a paramedic. The City wouldn't offer me a job without a work visa from Immigration, and Immigration wouldn't give me a work visa without a job offer. It took a lot of persuading the City to write to Immigration stating they would offer me a job if I had a work visa - so the red tape and bureaucracy can be a bit frustrating at times, and the occasions that this happens are so infrequent that the process is not yet streamlined.
Don't necessarily restrict yourself to Ontario. Check out the requirements of the other provinces and territories, but look them up on a map first!
I know this all sounds very daunting - and at times it was - but it is possible (I'm the proof) so don't be put off! I'm glad I tried and it worked out for me, it's a great place to be and I'm not sure I would ever return to the UK (although I have learned never to say “never"!).
Please use the
email link on this website if you need more on my personal perspective. Good luck with your process!
Advanced Care Paramedic
Ottawa Paramedic Service
If you require more information about working as a paramedic in Ontario, please contact the
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care - Emergency Health Services Branch at:
Ontario Ministry of Health - Emergency Health Services Branch
5700 Yonge Street, 6th Floor
Toronto, ON Canada M2M 4K5
Phone : (416) 327-7900
Toll-free : (800) 461-6431
Fax : (416) 327-7911
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care have recently updated their website and have a very comprehensive section that details the Equivalency process. One of the FAQ's is "I am a qualified paramedic in a foreign country. What steps must I take before I can be employed as a paramedic in Ontario?"