Section 56 Class Exemption for Paramedics in Alberta

Pursuant to section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), paramedics of health care service providers in the province of Alberta are exempted for medical purposes from the application of the following provisions of the CDSA and its regulations:

  • - Subsection 4(1) of the CDSA with respect to fentanyl, ketamine, morphine, oxycodone and pethidine
  • - Subsections 5(1) and 5(2) of the CDSA with respect to diazepam, fentanyl, ketamine, lorazepam, midazolam, morphine, oxycodone and pethidine
  • - Subsection 8(1) of the Narcotic Control Regulations (NCR) with respect to fentanyl, ketamine, morphine, oxycodone and pethidine
  • - Subsection 2(1) of the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations with respect to diazepam, lorazepam and midazolam

In respect of this exemption,

  • Controlled substance means one of the following substances: diazepam, fentanyl, ketamine, lorazepam, midazolam, morphine, oxycodone and pethidine.
  • Designated Administrator means a person who is in a managerial position and is ultimately responsible for ordering, transporting, storing and providing controlled substances for an ambulance operator licensed under the Alberta Emergency Health Services Act and the Emergency Health Services (Interim) Regulation.
  • Medical Director means a person, as defined in the Alberta Emergency Medical Technicians Regulation, who is a physician designated to provide medical control to paramedics, and is in a managerial position with ultimate responsibility for ordering, transporting, storing and providing controlled substances for an ambulance operator licensed under the Alberta Emergency Health Services Act and the Emergency Health Services (Interim) Regulation or an organization that provides emergency medical services in Alberta.
  • Paramedic means a person who is registered and entitled under the Alberta Health Disciplines Act and the Emergency Medical Technician; Regulation to practice as an Emergency Medical Technologist-Paramedic in that province and to administer controlled substances as part of the practice of paramedicine.
  • 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 paramedics with the authority to possess, transport, administer and destroy controlled substances when providing care to patients within their scope of practice as set out in the Alberta Health Disciplines Act and the Emergency Medical Technicians Regulation and in accordance with relevant protocols established by the ambulance operator licensed under the Alberta Emergency Health Services Act and the Emergency Health Services (Interim) Regulation or the organization that provides emergency medical services with which they are affiliated, and subject to the terms and conditions of this exemption.

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

  1. Administer controlled substances in accordance with case-specific directions by the Medical Director or pre-approved protocols with respect to controlled substances set by the ambulance operator licensed under the Alberta Emergency Health Services Act and the Emergency Health Services (Interim) Regulation or the organization that provides emergency medical services with which they are affiliated;
  2. Record all transactions involving controlled substances, i.e., date, name and quantity of controlled substances obtained, administered and returned, and provide such a record to the Designated Administrator or Medical Director for record-keeping purposes;
  3. Take necessary steps, in accordance with guidelines established by the ambulance operator licensed under the Alberta Emergency Health Services Act and the Emergency Health Services (Interim) Regulation or the organization that provides emergency medical services with which they are affiliated, to ensure the security of the controlled substances on their person and in their emergency vehicle or aircraft;
  4. Report immediate I y to the Designated Administrator or the Medical Director when they become aware of any loss or theft of controlled substances in their possession or in their emergency vehicle or aircraft;
  5. Dispose of unserviceable controlled substances, or return unserviceable controlled substances to the Designated Administrator or Medical Director who supplied the controlled substances, or the pharmacy that provided the controlled substances in accordance with guidelines established by the ambulance operator licensed under the Alberta Emergency Health Services Act and the Emergency Health Services (Interim) Regulation or the organization that provides emergency medical services; and
  6. Obtain controlled substances only from the Designated Administrator or Medical Director of the ambulance operator licensed under the Alberta Emergency Health Services Act and the Emergency Health Services (Interim) Regulation or the organization that provides emergency medical services with which they are affiliated.

This exemption will remain in effect until revoked. 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

Original signed by

Johanne Beaulieu
Director, Office of Controlled Substances
Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch

Effective Date: January 11, 2013

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