Alberta’s paramedics pushed into phase 1 vaccination.

APA President Dusty Myshrall speaks on paramedic vaccine announcement at the legislature.

“I am elated my paramedic peers will now be vaccinated in Phase 1 with the other frontline healthcare providers” states Association President Dusty Myshrall. “This has been a major project working 7 days a week to lobby the office of the Health Minister to get Paramedics the recognition they deserve and vaccine they need.” 

We hear it all the time at the Association, paramedics feel they are working in the shadows of healthcare. This life in the shadows is coming to an end and this vaccine announcement is evidence of that fact. We are a large and powerful profession when we organize to get something done. A professional association, the APA, is THE place paramedics organize to get this type of work done and get it done quickly.

Thank you to those Association volunteers who put many hours into this very important endeavor and to all those who contacted MLA’s, signed petitions and kept this initiative alive.

Paramedics uniting to support the strained healthcare system

The Association has been working hard with Alberta Health Services to identify new opportunities for Paramedics and Emergency Medical Responders to work within health care facilities as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

This is a great opportunity for the growth and evolution of our profession. Working in health care facilities as a practitioner under the Health Professions Act, you will be showcasing the skills and knowledge of Paramedics outside of the EMS system.
There are still many logistics to be worked through, but while we continue to collaborate with AHS on this initiative, we will keep those on the Paramedic Response list updated.

How can you help? 

  • Sign up to be on the COVID-19 Paramedic Response list (link below)
  • Spread the word and get your colleagues to sign up
  • Become a member!
  • Take the free Nasopharyngeal swab course in the store under courses.

More info here:

WCB / EI Coverage

This letter was sent to the Honourable Jason Copping:  Minister of Labour and Immigration March 21, 2020

Dear Honourable Copping,

As a representative organization for its members, the Alberta Paramedic Association’s (the Association) mission is to enhance knowledge, skills and the health and wellness Paramedics. The Association is not a union, but rather an elected organization that provides a voice for Paramedics within their professional practice.

Amid this COVID-19 crisis, all front-line medical professionals are doing their best to provide service for Albertan’s. Paramedics are often the first medical professionals contacted during health emergencies. Currently, Paramedics are taking great risk to protect their personal wellbeing and their families to ensure health services are being maintained.

There have been many announcements by your government outlining the financial assistance that you are providing for Albertans during this time of crisis. Current messaging is aimed at those who either become exposed or contract symptoms of the COVID-19 virus with specific direction to quarantine themselves. Once exposed, it is reasonable for paramedics to quarantine themselves to limit exposure to others however they must enact or rely on any sick benefits.

The Association has spoken previously about those Paramedics who are working extended on call shifts commonly known as Core-Flex, where compensation is based on a framework of an hourly rate and on-call rate. While those particulars can be debated another day, there is a pressing financial issue to how sick benefits, Employment Insurance (EI) and/or Workers Compensation Board (WCB) are calculated for compensation within the Core-Flex model.

Compensation for the on-call hours varies slightly between employers, however this compensation averages to roughly $6/hour. When Paramedics activate sick benefits, those hours designated as “on-call” are not compensated by sick benefits. Over the course of a 14-day quarantine, a reduction of $6.00/hour for an “on-call” period of 12-14 hours per day becomes a significant portion of their wage. To be clear, this on-call value is also not recognized by Employment Insurance (EI) or the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) benefits due to current legislation.

The Alberta Paramedic Association asks the Minister of Labor for a directive that the “on-call” portion be included in all employee sick benefits and/or the Government provide a special relief funding package for those paramedics working the Core-Flex model in order to cover the deficiency within their benefits. Furthermore, this should be included in the assessment for EI and WCB compensation. We don’t believe this to be an unreasonable request for those Paramedics who are placing their own wellbeing at risk to serve Albertans.

While the Association’s primary function is for its members, we also feel the need to contribute in a meaningful way to the Government of Alberta. Paramedics skillsets can contribute greatly in this time of need. Thank you for your time in the midst of this Crisis and I look forward to discussing these matters with you. Sincerely, 

Dusty Myshrall, ACP, Flight Paramedic
President Alberta Paramedic Association 

Swab Testing

This letter was sent to the Alberta College of Paramedics on March 22, 2020

Dear Dusty Schlitter,

I am writing to you as the representative of the Alberta Paramedic Association (Association), in hopes that we may find common ground in working together to help Paramedics better serve Albertan’s during this COVID-19 Crisis. We’ve been approached by various stakeholders asking for clarification on a Primary Care Paramedics (PCP) and Emergency Medical Responders (EMR) ability to perform COVID-19 swab testing. While the Association certainly recognizes that scope of practice is within the mandate of the Alberta College of Paramedics (College), I am hopeful that both the Association and College may work together to expeditiously give PCP’s and EMR’s the ability to perform COVID-19 swab testing.

The Association can appreciate that adding to their scope and/or amending regulation can be a lengthy process, we do feel that during this pandemic crisis, Albertans will be better served by having PCP’s and possibly EMR’s performing swab testing. To that end, the Association is proposing that if the College agrees to giving practitioners the ability to perform swab testing, then the Association can host a learning module that any practitioner regardless of being a member or not, can take at no cost to them on our secured websites learning management system (LMS). Our website and LMS is on secured server and platform managed by a reputable company in Edmonton, who has contracts with other regulating bodies under the Health Professions Act. Once a practitioner completes the learning module, the LMS will provide them with a certificate, as-well automatically send a digital record to the College validating that they have completed the module.

I am happy to discuss the above in more detail as-well any other ideas/solutions to expedite their ability to perform swab testing within Alberta as well any other ways that Paramedics can better serve Albertan’s in this time of Crisis. Please call me at 780-904-3619 at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your urgent attention in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Dusty Myshrall, ACP, Flight Paramedic
President Alberta Paramedic Association