What is the future of Occupational First Aid in British Columbia?

In 2019 the federal government of Canada set out to make sense of the first aid programs in Canada. Nothing was making sense as people with certain certifications crossed provincial borders and found themselves in a certification abyss. A first responders course taken in one province was not recognized in another province so a bridge program needed to be taken. More advanced courses didn’t meet more basic course requirements and people were forced to retake courses, learn nothing and waste time and money. All of this was happening and the federal government finally stepped in and said that we need a Canadian Standard Approval. The federal province told the provincial providers that by 2019 they need to follow the same standards in first aid training.

So What Happened with All the Different Types of First Aid Courses?

By 2019, all the provinces need to focus on sorting out who was approved to offer three different types of courses. That’s right, out of all the number of different courses available for participants to take, the province mandated only 3 provincially approved programs. An 8 hour course, typically named emergency first aid, a 16 hour course, typically named standard first aid and a advanced course typically named advanced first aid. This means that courses such as Occupational first aid level 3 had to follow advanced first aid program standards. Occupational first aid level 2 is going to cease to exist and occupational level 1 was going to switch over to emergency first aid. No more first responder, no more ofa level 2, no more advanced paramedic training. A bunch of courses are left hanging out like wilderness and ski patrol and babysitting first aid. But overall this a good thing. You can now go across Canada with a one, two or two week course and meet the equivalent requirements of first aid training in each province. No more bridge courses or retaking courses. Just make sure you take a course with a provincially approved provider.

What does this Mean for OFA?

OFA will cease to exist with its current naming. It will eventually be called emergency, standard or advanced first aid. The courses will have to adapt to meet CSA standards and WorkSafeBC will sort it all out… hopefully.

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