Expansion of college programs will increase paramedic workforce, ensuring faster access to emergency care
As part of Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care and its plan to hire more health care workers, the Ontario government is helping more students who want to become a paramedic in Ontario by adding more than 300 spaces in paramedic programs at provincial colleges across Ontario this year.
“There is a significant demand for paramedics in communities across the province, and our government is making it as easy as possible for those who want to train and work in this important profession,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “In partnership with the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs, we are strengthening Ontario’s paramedic workforce for years to come.”
More student spaces in primary care paramedic programs at colleges across Ontario will make it easier for future paramedics to access education and training closer to home. Expanding the pipeline of talent for the future will also help bolster the paramedic workforce and make sure emergency services are available to respond to emergencies when and where Ontarians need them.
“By expanding enrolment for paramedic programs in Ontario, our government is helping more students gain access to world class postsecondary training closer to home,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “These new spots will play a critical role in addressing the current shortage of paramedics by preparing more highly-skilled health care professionals to enter the workforce and provide the excellent care Ontarians deserve.”
The province is making it easier for people and their families to connect to the care they need, when they need it, closer to home by helping those who want to train and work in Ontario and hiring more health care workers to help communities build up their own health workforces.
- Colleges offered expanded enrolment in 2023-24 are Algonquin College, Cambrian College, Centennial College, Collège Boréal, Collège La Cité, Conestoga College, Confederation College, Durham College, Fanshawe College, Georgian College, Lambton College, Northern College, St. Clair College and St. Lawrence College.
- The newly expanded Ontario Learn and Stay Grant will provide students studying in the first year of a paramedic program in 2023-2024 at select postsecondary institutions with funding for free tuition, books, compulsory fees and other direct educational costs. After graduating, students will need to work in the same region they studied for a minimum of six months for every full year of study funded by the grant.
- As announced in the 2023 Ontario Budget, Dedicated Offload Nurses Program (DONP) funding is increasing by $51 million over the next three years to support municipalities in reducing ambulance offload delays, providing funding for dedicated nurses to offload patients in hospital emergency rooms. As of January 2022, funding eligibility has been expanded to paramedics, respiratory therapists, and physician assistants in addition to nurses.
- The province is also giving paramedics the flexibility to treat additional 9-1-1 patients – including those with diabetes and epilepsy – at home, on scene, or in appropriate community-based settings instead of in emergency departments. This innovative model of care is already in place for palliative as well as mental health and addictions patients.
- Ontario is expanding its community paramedicine program, which enables paramedics to use their training and expertise beyond their traditional emergency response role. Through this program, which works alongside home care, primary care, and home and community care, 55 communities are already benefiting from 24/7 non-emergency support. This is also helping people with chronic health conditions live independently at home, where they want to be.
“The Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs (OAPC) welcomes the addition of 300 new spaces across Ontario for paramedic training. We look forward to working with Minister Jones, Minister Dunlop, Colleges Ontario and individual colleges to place highly trained and skilled paramedics on the road to serve Ontarians.”
– Michael Sanderson