News release

Emergency Medical Responders Start Program

Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment
Action for Health
health workforce
NOTE: Photos of the first class of emergency medical responders during training are available at:

Nova Scotia’s first class of emergency medical responders started their studies this month in Dartmouth.

The 14 learners are the first of 200 emergency medical responders (EMRs) who will be trained over the next two years.

“I would like to extend a warm welcome to the first class of emergency medical responders. This new position will help fill a critical need in our healthcare system and help us fix healthcare,” said Michelle Thompson, Minister responsible for the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment. “We wish the learners good luck in their studies and look forward to seeing them in the field later this year.”

Emergency medical responders will support and work alongside paramedics, providing basic resuscitation and patient assessment. The addition of this new role will increase the number of paramedic teams available and reduce wait times.

The new program offered by Medavie HealthEd includes a mix of classroom education, case studies, simulation and hands-on learning. One of the main goals is for EMRs to be able to identify when a patient requires care from a paramedic.

The program also covers how to:

  • lift, move and secure patients safely
  • administer some symptom-relief medication
  • provide oxygen
  • conduct a basic patient assessment
  • take vital signs
  • perform CPR
  • address life-threatening bleeding.

Learners will participate in practical experiences with trained actors, learning to prepare, secure and place patients in an ambulance, conducting patient assessments and taking vital signs.

The program ensures learners will become safe, competent members of the healthcare team, with sound knowledge and skills, a commitment to excellence and a deep sense of professionalism and caring.

This first class will graduate at the end of May, with the next group beginning in June.

The Province is also working with Medavie HealthEd to develop a bridging program for emergency medical responders who want to become paramedics.


“This first class of EMR learners are as excited to participate in this program as we are to deliver it. They come from diverse backgrounds and are all incredibly eager to learn. We are pleased the government has brought this important new role to Nova Scotia.”
— Mike Miller, instructor, Emergency Medical Responder Program

“The emergency medical responder role is another example of the collaboration we have with the Province to help increase the emergency health services workforce. Health human resources is a challenge felt in all areas of healthcare across the country. EMRs will help ensure that access to safe high-quality healthcare is available to Nova Scotians.”
— Matthew Crossman, President, Medavie HealthEd

Quick Facts:

  • emergency medical responders are licensed and regulated by the College of Paramedics of Nova Scotia
  • to be licensed to practice in Canada, graduates must complete a national exam administered by the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators
  • several Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta, license and employ emergency medical responders
  • the government has invested $200,000 in this new program

Additional Resources:

Information about the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) Program and how to apply:

New Emergency Medical Responders Will Improve Care

Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve healthcare:

Other than cropping, CNS photos are not to be altered in any way