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First Aid Industry Standards – It’s 2021. Wanna Know How Far We’ve Come? (Part 1)

Let’s have a look at what the first aid industry looks like here in the Great White North. We’re going to start our story in 2013 when the Canadian Red Cross approached CSA Group looking to help create a national standard for first aid competencies and training.


In April of 2014, the Advisory Council received strong support from regulatory members to create this national standard, so in October of 2014, fifteen invited experts attended a workshop. Key themes that arose during their meeting….

  • Status quo is not an option, we NEED better policy in place for all jurisdictions
  • If there WAS a national standard, it could be updated more frequently to reflect scientific evidence-based recommendations
  • A national standard would ensure CONSISTENCY at a national level for high-quality, measurable training. It wouldn’t address all gaps, but it would help tremendously
  • Significant resources would be required to create this standard framework and have the project advance

Here we are now, in 2021. Today in Canada, every province and territory can develop their own first aid regulations. So, someone takes a first aid class in Ontario but goes to work in Alberta. Guess what? They need brand new first aid certification because it’s not recognized interprovincially. What a pain.


Each province has the discretion to approve and accept other jurisdiction certificates but not having programs that are recognized interprovincially creates a lack of cohesion. Talk about confusion when travelling for work. It’s been 7 years and we are still trying to find solutions to a National problem.


So what are we doing about it? We are pushing for change; we are creating a new way that First Aid is taught. We ask participants, the people who are taking the course what can be better, how it can be better and what learning style works best for them. Not surprisingly, almost every participant said hands-on demonstrations, better equipment and more time to complete the 2-day class. Now let me be clear, more time does not mean let’s make training 4 days, it means let’s space it out so we aren’t learning 16 hours of information in 2 days and just trying to remember enough to get an 80% on the mandatory test. Stay tuned for part 2 of First Aid Industry Standards.