Report Offers Insight into Human Resources Issues in Seniors Care Sector

VANCOUVER, April 17 /CNW/ - A new report released today by the BC Care Providers Association represents the most comprehensive labour market survey ever conducted for the non-profit and private seniors care sector in British Columbia.

Led by a project committee of leading seniors care stakeholders in BC, "Planning, Attracting, Engaging and Sharing Knowledge" provides an overview of the recruiting and retention situation for residential care aides, home care workers and licensed practical nurses over the coming decade.

"This report offers very important insight into the key human resource challenges facing not-for-profit and private seniors care providers in British Columbia," said BC Care Providers Association CEO Ed Helfrich. "What we are excited about is that the strategy also includes a specific set of recommendations on how to address the human resource challenges our sector is going to experience with the aging of our society."

Among other things, the 52-page report concludes:

  • There are 14,000 people employed in BC's private/non-profit seniors care sector - and growing
  • Care providers are operating on very lean budgets
  • Several sector employers are offering training, skills development and innovative approaches to improve quality of their employees' lives - and they should be recognized
  • Close to 25% of all home care workers in sector are over the age of 55
  • A significant portion of employees in the sector are retained on a casual basis - particularly in home support (58% of all new hires over past 12 month period)
  • British Columbia's home care sector is most vulnerable to labour retention challenges in the future
  • The cost of staff turnover is estimated at $4,100/person and could present a potential safety threat in the future if action is not taken now to promote meaningful collaborations
  • The sector needs to be marketed to potential employees in a more realistic manner

The report includes more than 20 recommendations - mostly aimed at improving retention of existing workers and reducing staff turnover. The project committee has fast-tracked a number of items focused on:

  • Innovative scheduling practices in home support and residential care
  • Review of "fixed-hour" pilot projects and additional "cluster care" opportunities in home care sector
  • Develop opportunities focused on welcoming more new Canadians in the seniors care sector
  • Invite care providers to participate in pilot projects
  • Establish provincial awards of excellence for sector employers
  • Extend project collaboration to include WorkSafe BC, Care Aide Registry, private career training colleges and health authorities
  • Maintain project committee to oversee implementation of recommendations

"We would like to thank the Ministries of Health, Advanced Education and Jobs, Tourism and Innovation for supporting our project committee," concluded Mr. Helfrich. "We would also like to thank the other members of our team and all the care providers that participated in the preparation of this strategy. We look forward to implementing these ideas in the year ahead."

For a complete copy of the report, summary of key conclusions and full list of recommendations, contact

The project was funded in whole or in part through the Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement and builds on the BC Cares training and recruiting partnership BCCPA established in 2007 with the provincial government and local health authorities.

SOURCE BC Care Providers Association

For further information:

David Hurford, BC Care Providers Association
604.736.4233 (x228)

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