Subsection 56(1) class exemption for designated administrators of the British Columbia ambulance service


Pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), Designated Administrators of the British Columbia Ambulance Service are exempted for medical purposes from the application of the following provisions of the CDSA :

  • Subsection 4(1) of the CDSA with respect to fentanyl, hydromorphone, ketamine, morphine and oxycodone.
  • Subsections 5(1) and 5(2) of the CDSA with respect to diazepam, fentanyl, hydromorphone, ketamine, lorazepam, midazolam, morphine, oxycodone and phenobarbital.

In respect of this exemption,

  • British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) means the agency that bears the name "British Columbia Ambulance Service" and provides ambulance services under the authority of the British Columbia Emergency Health Services in accordance with the British Columbia Emergency Health Services Act.
  • Controlled substance means one of the following substances: diazepam, fentanyl, hydromorphone, ketamine, lorazepam, midazolam, morphine oxycodone and phenobarbital.
  • Designated Administrator means a BCAS Medical Director who is ultimately responsible for ordering, transporting, storing and providing controlled substances for a BCAS region, or a physician designated in writing by such a Medical Director to act on his or her behalf for the purposes of this exemption.
  • Designated Pharmacy means a pharmacy that is authorized to operate in the province of British Columbia by a pharmacy licence issued under the British Columbia Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act, and whose owner has a contractual agreement with the BC Emergency Health Services for the supply of controlled substances to paramedics in the province of British Columbia.
  • Paramedic means a person who is licensed as an emergency medical assistant under the British Columbia Emergency Health Services Act and the Emergency Medical Assistants Regulation in the category of Advanced Care Paramedic, Critical Care Paramedic, Primary Care Paramedics or Infant Transport Team, and who is authorized under that legislation to administer controlled substances in the course of practising as an emergency medical assistant in the province of British Columbia.
  • Unserviceable controlled substance means a drug product containing a controlled substance that is expired, contaminated, damaged, or any residual controlled substance remaining in a multi-dose vial.

This exemption provides the aforementioned Designated Administrators with the authority to order, possess, transport, store and provide controlled substances required by paramedics employed by the BCAS, in accordance with relevant guidelines established by BCAS, and subject to the terms and conditions of this exemption.

The exemption is only applicable if the following conditions are met. Designated Administrators must:

  1. Take necessary steps, in accordance with guidelines established by the BCAS, to ensure the security of controlled substances in storage and during transportation;
  2. Order controlled substances only from a Designated Pharmacy and ensure that any unserviceable controlled substances are returned to a Designated Pharmacy for destruction, in the manner agreed between the Designated Pharmacy and the Designated Administrator;
  3. Record all transactions involving controlled substances, i.e., date, name and quantity of controlled substances ordered, received, stored in ambulances or aircrafts, provided to paramedics (to be carried on their person) and returned to a Designated Pharmacy for destruction;
  4. Record the name and address of the person from whom the controlled substance was purchased, received and returned to;
  5. Maintain all records submitted by paramedics in the BCAS region for which the Designated Administrator is ultimately responsible;
  6. Report all incidences of loss or theft of controlled substances in writing to Health Canada within 10 days of discovery; and
  7. Keep information specified in (3) to (5) for at least two years and make it available to Health Canada upon request.

This exemption replaces the "Section 56 Class Exemption for Designated Administrators of the British Columbia Ambulance Service " that was issued on October 14, 2014. This exemption will remain in effect until the date on which this exemption has been replaced or the date on which this exemption is revoked.

The Minister may at any time and for any reason revoke or change the terms and conditions of this exemption. Should this be the case, you will be informed in writing and reasons for the revocation or changes will be provided.

A suspension of this exemption without prior notice may be ordered if the Minister deems that such a suspension is necessary to protect public health, safety or security.

Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of this exemption may, among other things, result in immediate suspension of this exemption, and ultimately, in its revocation.

Signed for and on behalf of the Minister of Health.

Jennifer Saxe
Director General
Controlled Substances Directorate
Health Canada

Effective Date: October 14, 2014

Updated on: February 12, 2021

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: