BLS Description

Basic Life Support (BLS) Description

(formerly known as BLS for Healthcare Providers)


Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundational emergency cardiovascular course for all healthcare professionals and first responders intended to help improve patient outcomes. BLS teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in pre-hospital and in-facility settings. Current BLS status is a pre-requisite for advanced and intermediary resuscitation courses and is also a requirement in most healthcare settings. BLS Provider status surpasses requirements for CPR (C) or CPR Healthcare Provider (HCP) unless stated otherwise by an organization or college.

The Heart & Stroke BLS course offers:

  • The latest resuscitation science and adult-learning techniques, from Canada’s leading expert in resuscitation science and education
  • Realistic scenarios, simulations and animations depicting rescuers, teams and patients
  • Course and content flexibility for Heart & Stroke instructors and students, including adaptability to local protocols
  • Upon successful completion, a BLS completion card valid for 12 months


Intended Audience

The Heart & Stroke BLS course is designed for:

  • Healthcare professionals and trained first responders in a wide variety of in-facility and pre-hospital settings
  • People who require BLS Provider status and CPR training to enter into a healthcare-related job or program


Course Overview and Design

All BLS courses focus on the essential skills rescuers need to know to perform high-quality CPR in a wide variety of settings. After successfully completing one of our BLS courses, students will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of high-quality CPR and its impact on survival
  • Describe and apply all of the steps of the Chain of Survival
  • Perform high-quality CPR for an adult, child, and infant
  • Describe and demonstrate the important early use of an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Provide effective ventilations using a barrier device
  • Perform as an effective team member during multi-rescuer CPR
  • Describe and apply the technique for relief of foreign-body airway obstruction (choking) for an adult, child, and infant


Available Course Formats

Heart & Stroke currently offers two course formats for Basic Life Support. Successful completion of these courses yields a BLS Provider completion card. JUMP TO COURSE COMPLETION CARD

Instructor-led format

  • BLS Provider course – Students learn to quickly recognize life-threatening emergencies and give high-quality CPR to adults, children and infants. All levels course.
  • BLS Renewal course – A fast-paced course, experienced BLS providers demonstrate mastery of knowledge and skills. This is not an entry-level course and learners are those who are confident in their BLS skills through regular use in their work. JUMP TO BLS RENEWAL PREREQUISITES

Blended learning format

  • BLS Blended Learning course – The blended learning approach teaches the complete BLS curriculum in two parts: Students take the self-directed BLS Blended – Online Component and the BLS Blended – In-classroom Component. The BLS Blended Learning course offers flexibility to students and instructors. All levels course with accelerated options for in-classroom. JUMP TO BLS BLENDED IN-CLASSROOM COMPONENT OPTIONS


BLS Course Duration

Course durations provided are based on a student-to-instructor ratio for learning stations of 6:1, and do not include additional times needed for optional lessons, breaks or transitions, or additional students. 

Instructor-led Only Courses:

  • BLS Provider Course - Approximate course duration: 4 hours
  • BLS Renewal Course – Approximate duration: 2.25 hours

Blended Learning Course (must take both components):

  • BLS Blended – Online ComponentSelf-paced. Approximate duration: 2 hours.
  • BLS Blended – In-classroom Component – Approximate duration:  1- 2 hours.


BLS Student Materials

Student resources can be conveniently purchased at Heart Shop, our online store by visiting: or clicking on the Shop for Training Materials button on the right side of the page. You can shop as a guest or log into your Resuscitation portal account to set up a Heart Shop account. Only Heart & Stroke branded BLS materials are accepted for use in courses where a Heart & Stroke Foundation BLS completion card is issued.


  • BLS Provider Manual – in print (RE3310E) or eBook (RE3310ED)*


  • 2015 Handbook of Emergency Cardiovascular Care for Healthcare Providers – in print (RE0120E) or eBook (RE0120ED)

* Students who take the BLS Blended Learning course have access to the BLS Blended – Online Component and eBook Provider Manual via the eCampus for a period of 12 months. It is permitted to access these resources in the BLS Blended – In-classroom Component.



Course Completion Card & Expiration Date

All Heart & Stroke Basic Life Support completion cards are valid for one year from the date of successful course completion. Students who successfully complete the course will receive an email that provides access to their BLS Provider eCard. This electronic proof of course completion can be accessed directly online, downloaded or printed for convenience. A Heart & Stroke-printed course completion card is available for an additional fee.

To mitigate skills degradation, annual renewal of the BLS Course completion card is highly recommended.JUMP TO HOW TO REGISTER



BLS Blended Learning In-Classroom Component Options

Register for one of BLS Blended 120, 90, or 60. Instructors will provide students with a redemption key to unlock the online component and will verify location, date, time of the in-classroom component. After successfully completing the BLS Blended – Online Component, students will automatically receive a receipt called the ‘BLS Blended Class Pass’. The Class Pass allows entry to the BLS Blended – In-classroom Component when presented to the course instructor.  The in-classroom options are:

  • BLS Blended 120 (120 minutes):  Designed for first time BLS learners and/or those who do not use their BLS skills on a regular basis. BLS Blended 120 emphasizes the individual elements that make up core BLS skills and offers comprehensive practice before hands-on skills tests.
  • BLS Blended 90 (90 minutes): Designed for students who are confident in their understanding and practice of BLS skills, but want to review and practice before hands-on skills tests.
  • BLS Blended 60 (60 Minutes): Designed for experienced, highly-proficient BLS providers who regularly use BLS skills in their practice. Where available, BLS Blended 60 offers hands-on testing with very minimal practice. Restrictions on course availability and approvals apply.



BLS Renewal Course Prerequisites

The prerequisite for admission to Heart & Stroke’s BLS Renewal course is either:

  • Current Heart & Stroke BLS Provider status taken within the last 12 months and current to the most recent Guidelines release; OR
  • Heart & Stroke BLS Renewal Prerequisite Challenge Certificate received after successfully completing the online challenge. 



How to register

Click here to find an instructor, course format and location convenient for you.

  • Register and pay instructors directly
  • For instructor-led formats, instructors will verify location, date and time
  • For blended learning, register for one of BLS Blended 120, 90, or 60. Instructors will provide students with a redemption key to unlock the online component and will verify location, date, time of the in-classroom component




BLS Instructor Courses

The ideal Heart & Stroke Instructor-Candidate:

  • Is motivated to teach
  • Is motivated to facilitate learning
  • Is motivated to ensure that students acquire the skills necessary for successful course completion
  • Views student assessment as a way to improve individual knowledge and skills


All BLS Instructor-Candidates must have a current Heart & Stroke BLS Provider card.


BLS Instructor Course

The BLS Instructor course is comprised of two separate one-day training modules, delivered by a Heart & Stroke Instructor Trainer:

  • The Core Instructor course, and 
  • The Basic Life Support instructor training module

The Core Instructor course (CIC) is a foundational course required by all Heart & Stroke instructor-candidates. This course teaches instructor-candidates how to apply effective communication techniques, manage the classroom environment, and promote knowledge and skill transfer and retention. 

 The Basic Life Support instructor training module introduces the instructor-candidate to the educational materials and course outlines utilized in the delivery of Heart & Stroke BLS provider courses.

Instructor-Candidate Materials

There are two BLS instructor kits available or the products can be purchased separately.  All materials for Heart & Stroke BLS instructors are available through Heart & Stroke’s e-Store, Heart Shop. Instructor materials must be ordered for instructor-candidates by the course coordinator, or the BLS instructor-trainer of the instructor course. 

Required Instructor-Candidate Materials:

  • BLS Provider Manual – in print (RE3310E) or eBook (RE3310ED)
  • BLS Instructor Manual Combo – print (RE3315E) or eBook (RE3315ED)
  • BLS Course Video Combo – in DVD format (RE3345E)

Optional General Materials: 

New instructors and instructor-candidates are strongly encouraged to acquire the following optional general materials for quick reference during the course: 

  • 2015 Handbook of Emergency Cardiovascular Care for Healthcare Providers – in print (RE0120E) or eBook (RE0120ED)

Instructor Kits: Alternatively, individual components for the BLS instructor are conveniently bundled into competitively-priced BLS instructor kits: 

  • BLS Instructor Kit –Gold (RE3360E- Gold) – includes RE3310E | RE3315E | RE3345E
  • BLS Instructor Kit – Silver (RE3360E – Silver) includes RE3310E | RE3315E


BLS Instructor Renewal Course

Instructor status must be maintained in good standing and renewed in order to remain eligible to teach Heart & Stroke courses. Maintaining active instructor status involves:

  • Teaching a minimum of two courses per year in each discipline you are registered to teach (e.g., BLS, Heartsaver)
  • Attending an instructor renewal course every three years.
  • Completing a Guideline Update within the designated timelines outlined by  Heart & Stroke
  • Paying annual registration fees by December 31st of each year.

Additional information pertaining to maintenance of instructor status can be found in the Instructor Resource for Resuscitation Programs (IRRP), available for download from the HSF Policies and Procedures section of the portal (login required).


BLS Instructor Guidelines Update

The Instructor Guideline Update is a requirement of all active, registered Heart & Stroke instructors and instructor-candidates (Heartsaver, BLS, First Aid, ACLS, and PALS). The instructor guidelines update process occurs in conjunction with the Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care updates (approximately every 5 years). The instructor guidelines update introduces instructors to changes in the guidelines and the rationale for those changes, and the revised educational delivery techniques used in new course materials.



Instructor Trainers

Instructor trainers are integral in maintaining the high teaching standards set by Heart & Stroke. BLS instructor trainers ensure quality program delivery by identifying and supporting instructor-candidates through the completion of instructor curriculum as well as coaching and mentoring instructors.

BLS instructor trainers are responsible for two levels of instructor credentialing: Basic Life Support (BLS) and Heartsaver®. 

BLS Instructor Trainer Course

The BLS Instructor Trainer course is designed to enable existing Heart & Stroke instructors to teach Heart & Stroke instructor-level courses. 

Mandated Instructor-Trainer-Candidate Materials (if not already acquired):

  • Heartsaver® CPR AED Student Workbook
  • Heartsaver® CPR AED Instructor Manual
  • Heartsaver® CPR AED Course Video
  • BLS Provider Manual
  • BLS Instructor Manual Combo
  • BLS Course Video Combo
  • BLS Instructor Training Module
  • HSF Core Training Program
  • Instructor Resource for Resuscitation Programs (IRRP)


BLS Instructor Trainer Renewal

To maintain registration with Heart &Stroke, a BLS Instructor Trainer Renewal is required every three years. Completion ensures that the BLS instructor trainer receives current curriculum and guidelines, and is re-evaluated on their skills. The BLS Instructor Trainer Renewal course builds upon the educational learning gained within the original instructor course.


BLS Instructor Trainer Guideline Update

The Guideline Update is a course that all active, registered Heart & Stroke instructors and instructor-candidates (BLS, First Aid, ACLS, and PALS) are required to attend when the Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care change (approximately every 5 years). The course introduces instructors to changes to the guidelines and the rationale for those changes, the revised educational delivery techniques and materials, and the syllabus utilized in courses offered by Heart & Stroke.

 Mandated Student Materials:

  • As determined by Heart & Stroke