This document contains a set of four integrated competency profiles that define the competencies of paramedic and emergency medical responders within Canada. It is important to note that the NOCP is not intended as a curriculum blueprint, or a teaching plan.

The Paramedic Association of Canada (PAC) introduced the National Occupational Competency Profile for paramedics along with the professional titles in March 2000. This was done to define the profession, promote national consistency in paramedic training and practice, and lastly, to facilitate job mobility for practitioners.

The 2001 National Occupancy Competency Profile was reviewed and refined to produce the new profile contained in this document. The review process for a new National Occupational Competency Profile for paramedics, began in 2006 with a future vision conference, and culminated in 2011 with an agreement between the the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators and the Paramedic Association of Canada to adopt the 2011 National Occupational Competency Profile as a foundation document in the development of a National Examination for paramedics. initial competency profiles were reviewed and refined to produce the new profiles contained in this document. This document also reflects important change driven through a collaborative feedback process that included representatives from key stakeholder groups. The Board of Directors of PAC approved the new profiles on October 29, 2011.

Download the complete NOCP tables in PDF form

National Occupational Competency Profile for Paramedics October 2011 Copyright © 2011 Paramedic Association of Canada

GENERAL COMPETENCY 1.1 Function as a professional.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 1.2 Participate in continuing education and professional development.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 1.3 Possess an understanding of the medicolegal aspects of the profession.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 1.4 Recognize and comply with relevant provincial and federal legislation.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 1.5 Function effectively in a team environment.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 1.6 Make decisions effectively.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 1.7 Manage scenes with actual or potential forensic implications. 

GENERAL COMPETENCY 2.1 Practice effective oral communication skills.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 2.2 Practice effective written communication skills.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 2.3 Practice effective non-verbal communication skills.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 2.4 Practice effective interpersonal relations.

GENERAL COMPETENCY 3.1 Maintain good physical and mental health.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 3.2 Practice safe lifting and moving techniques.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 3.3 Create and maintain a safe work environment.

GENERAL COMPETENCY 4.1 Conduct triage in a multiple-patient incident.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 4.2 Obtain patient history.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 4.3 Conduct complete physical assessment demonstrating appropriate use of inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 4.4 Assess vital signs.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 4.5 Utilize diagnostic tests.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 5.1 Maintain patency of upper airway and trachea.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 5.2 Prepare oxygen delivery devices.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 5.3 Deliver oxygen and administer manual ventilation.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 5.4 Utilize ventilation equipment.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 5.5 Implement measures to maintain hemodynamic stability.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 5.6 Provide basic care for soft tissue injuries.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 5.7 Immobilize actual and suspected fractures.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 5.8 Administer medications.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 6.1 Utilize differential diagnosis skills, decision-making skills and psychomotor skills in providing care to patients.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 6.2 Provide care to meet the needs of unique patient groups.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 6.3 Conduct ongoing assessments and provide care.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 7.1 Prepare ambulance for service.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 7.2 Drive ambulance or emergency response vehicle.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 7.3 Transfer patient to air ambulance.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 7.4 Transport patient in air ambulance.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 8.1 Integrate professional practice into community care.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 8.2 Contribute to public safety through collaboration with other emergency response agencies.
GENERAL COMPETENCY 8.3 Participate in the management of a chemical, biological, radiological / nuclear, explosive (CBRNE) incident.
Appendix 4A. Cardiovascular System
Appendix 4B. Neurologic System
Appendix 4C. Respiratory System
Appendix 4D. Genitourinary / Reproductive System
Appendix 4E. Gastrointestinal System
Appendix 4F. Integumentary System
Appendix 4G. Musculoskeletal System
Appendix 4H. Immunologic System
Appendix 4I. Endocrine System
Appendix 4J. Ears, Eyes, Nose & Throat
Appendix 4K. Toxicologic Illness
Appendix 4L. Adverse Environments
Appendix 4M. Trauma
Appendix 4N. Psychiatric Disorders
Appendix 4O. Obstetrics and Neonates
Appendix 4P. Multisystem Diseases and Injuries
Appendix 5A. Medications affecting the central nervous
Appendix 5B. Medications affecting the autonomic nervous system
Appendix 5C. Medications affecting the respiratory system
Appendix 5D. Medications affecting the cardiovascular system
Appendix 5E. Medications affecting blood clotting mechanisms
Appendix 5F. Medications affecting the gastrointestinal system
Appendix 5G. Medications affecting labour, delivery and postpartum hemorrhage
Appendix 5H. Medications used to treat electrolyte and substrate imbalances
Appendix 5I. Medications used to treat / prevent inflammatory responses and infections
Appendix 5J. Medications used to treat poisoning and overdose

This Appendix outlines the use of “High Fidelity Simulation” (HFS) to supplement evaluation of Specific Competencies in the Clinical (C) or Preceptorship (P) performance environments as defined by the National Occupational Competency Profile for Paramedics in Canada.

“PAC is committed to leading the profession of paramedicine, through a spirit of collaboration, a commitment to the vision and strong leadership. We will demonstrate honesty, integrity and transparency in our affairs, be accountable to the Chapters, and fairly represent Paramedics with a national focus. We are committed to the Renewal of the National Occupational Competency Profile (NOCP), the development of a National Examination, and the development of a National Registry.”


This latest iteration of the National Occupational Competency Profile occurs ten years after the original document was approved by the Paramedic Association of Canada. In that past ten years, there have been many changes in the field of Paramedicine specifically, and within Health Care in general. The Paramedic Association of Canada recognizes a number of forces at play that forge a dynamic tension within Paramedicine, that has created a push-pull force on the profession in Canada.

One such driver for change, a push force, presents as a result of the economic pressure placed upon the health care system by a burgeoning baby boomer demographic. The subsequent challenges this population demographic represent has resulted in a downloading of health care responsibilities. This downloading has obligated Paramedicine to respond by adapting and expanding Paramedic scope of practise. We now have Paramedics working in what are non-traditional settings for paramedics, including hospitals, community services, military and Industry, stretching the traditional scope of practise for Paramedicine. Further, the events of September 11, 2001, highlighted the need for the paramedic to be more fully integrated into areas of emergency response. The new areas of practise are referenced in Area 8: Health Promotion and Public Safety.

PAC also recognizes the advent of Degree-Diploma education for Paramedicine as a force for change. Medical innovation and emerging technologies have also played a role in creating the dynamic tension that is pulling Paramedical practise deeper in to academia. Pressures within the Health Care System are pulling the scope of Paramedic practise in new directions, and Paramedics are increasingly employing more of a diagnostic role. The Paramedic Association of Canada wholly supports the development and immplementation of degree programs as a reflection of the increasing complexity of paramedic practise.

In part, as a result of these external forces, there has been considerable change in the landscape that supports Paramedicine.

Since 1988, The Paramedic Association of Canada, (originally The Canadian Society of Ambulance Personnel) has represented the profession on a National basis. Our mandate has included:

  • Promotion of Paramedic self-regulation
  • Promotion of a National Examination
  • Promotion of a National Registry for Paramedics
  • Advocate for Paramedics to be included in the Canada Health Act
  • Support for Paramedic research through the Canadian Emergency Health Services Research Consortium
  • Stewardship of the National Competency Profile for Paramedics

Over the past several years, PAC has been witness to the emergence of National Paramedic stakeholder groups that share several items in our mandate as a result of their respective interests in the profession.

In 2002, the Emergency Medical Service Chiefs of Canada (EMSCC) was incorporated as a national forum for information gathering, policy development and coordinated action by the leadership of Canada’s EMS systems. This group works under an operating mission “To Advance and Align EMS Leadership in Canada”.

In 2006, a national group of paramedic educators rebranded the defunct Canadian Society of Prehospital Care Educators as the “The Society for Prehospital Educators in Canada” (SPEC).This group has demonstrated a keen desire to represent Paramedic education on a national basis.

The concept of labour mobilty, as it applies to Paramedicine, was founded in interprovincial agreements in the mid 1990’s. In 2008, with support from Human Resource Skills Development Canada, several provincial regulators met to establish a national body of paramedic regulators to address national standards within the context of labour mobility. In 2009, the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators was established.

Today, and for the first time in the field of Paramedicine, there is a national perspective representing Education, Regulation, Operations and Professional Practice.