What is the difference between CPR A, CPR C and CPR BLS?

Which CPR level is right for me?

We are often asked about the differences between CPR A, CPR C and CPR BLS. There’s a lot of confusion about the certifications and who should be certified in which level. Hopefully we can shed some light here so that you can chose the right CPR level to meet your needs. Basically, you should pick the CPR level based on your individual, business or school requirements. Whether you work in healthcare or early childhood education, whether you are a lay person or need training for the workplace, there is the right training for you.

BLS – Basic Life support

If you are a professional first responder or healthcare provider then this is likely the level for you. The Canadian Red Cross discontinued the HCP (Health Care Provider) level of CPR in the spring of 2019 and replaced it with BLS (Basic Life Support). This level is more in keeping with the skills required for teams of professional first responders, like paramedics and firefighters, or hospital and clinic healthcare workers, like nurses and doctors . This course is just a few hours long and is valid for 1 year.  This means to remain current, certificate-holders must recertify their skills prior to the expiry date on the certification. To register for a BLS course, please click here.


Basic Life Support

BLS for healthcare providers


CPR C is the level that the majority of Canadians complete. It covers all CPR and choking techniques for adult, child, and infant, as well as two-rescuer CPR and includes Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training. This level is usually required by early childhood educators, security guards or just about anyone who doesn’t work in healthcare.  The techniques are easy to learn and have been simplified over the years to help trained individuals better remember the necessary skills in the event of cardiac arrest. The most common place for CPR to be performed is at home and usually on a friend or loved one. It is wise for everyone over the age of 13 to learn CPR which is recertified every three years prior to the expiry date noted on the certification. Sign up for CPR C and bring your friends and family.


CPR C first aid training

CPR C with AED certifications


This level of CPR is usually required at work to meet workplace health and safety requirements. CPR A involves skills related to CPR, choking and circulatory emergencies for adults only that take just a few hours to learn. In most cases, for CPR purposes, an adult is 8 years old and older. This certification also includes training on the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

The different levels of CPR can be combined with a first aid certification.

Standard First Aid – BLS

This program provides comprehensive First Aid training & CPR techniques that help you respond to emergencies at home, work, or anywhere medical emergencies can occur. We will cover such topics as first aid for circulatory and breathing emergencies, CPR Level BLS choking, AED, disease transmission prevention, wound care, treating injuries to the head and spine, and much more. The Standard First Aid portion of this card is valid for 3 years but the BLS portion must be renewed yearly (as noted above).


Standard First Aid – C

This program is a Standard First Aid course (see above) but with a Level C CPR and AED (see above). This certification is valid for 3 years and must be renewed prior to expiry.


Standard First Aid – A

This level of certification meets occupational health and safety requirements in Ontario workplaces with more than 5 employees. SOS First Aid provides this training at the client’s workplace for a minimum of 6 participants. For more information or to book your company’s next training session, please contact us at [email protected] or 905-844-9818.

If you have more questions about the right level of CPR for you, please


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