Wednesday, June 19, 2024

More than 300 seats added to paramedic programs at colleges across Ontario

Ontario is adding more than 300 spaces in paramedic programs at colleges across the province this year.

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.

“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, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

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.

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