News release

New Licence Allows Paramedic Graduates to Work Sooner

A new temporary licence will mean graduating paramedics can start working in their field sooner, thanks to a new policy approved by the College of Paramedics of Nova Scotia.

Graduates of Medavie HealthEd’s Primary Care Paramedic Program within Nova Scotia and equivalent accredited programs elsewhere in Canada are now eligible for a restricted temporary licence. It allows them to work under the supervision of a paramedic with at least two years of practical experience while they wait to write the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators exam and gain full licensure.

"Paramedics are a critical part of our emergency health system. They are highly skilled and undergo a full 11 to 12 months of training before they graduate," said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. "I am so pleased to see this decision from the College of Paramedics of Nova Scotia that will help get more paramedics on the job faster. This is the kind of change that will help improve access to care for Nova Scotians.”

The Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators exam is offered four times each year. Depending on the availability of spaces and graduation timing, some graduates waited months to write the exam and get their licence. The temporary licence means graduates can start working up to six months sooner.

Other professional colleges in Nova Scotia, including those for nurses, physiotherapists and midwives, also use restricted temporary licences to give graduates an opportunity to get on-the-job experience without delays.


The college’s council and registration committee recognized the importance of identifying this pathway to licensure for the graduate paramedic, which provides an appropriate balance of supporting the healthcare system while serving and protecting the public interest. Karl Kowalczyk, Executive Director/Registrar, College of Paramedics of Nova Scotia

The benefit of the new policy is great; it allows us to gain experience faster and keep up with our skills. Other provinces have adopted this type of policy and it seems to work well. Joseph Loppie, student, Primary Care Paramedic Program, Medavie HealthEd

We are pleased the college has implemented this policy as it serves as an important measure to enable graduate paramedics an opportunity to apply their training earlier and support the EHS system while preparing to write the national exam. Mark Walker, Senior Manager, Clinical Services, Emergency Health Services

We are happy to see this very important and necessary change allowing paramedic graduates to get into the field sooner. We look forward to welcoming these graduates and are hopeful this move will help to alleviate some of the staffing pressures. Kevin MacMullin, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 727

Quick Facts:

  • in 2021, 81 Nova Scotians wrote the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators exam

Additional Resources:

Information on becoming a paramedic is available at:

College of Paramedics of Nova Scotia website: