B.C. invests for training of healthcare assistants

'Government is investing in relevant programs to enable people impacted by COVID-19'

B.C. invests for training of healthcare assistants
The investment is part of StrongerBC.

British Columbia is investing $8.4 million to train people to become healthcare assistants caring for seniors in the province.

“We’re moving forward with our plan to expand the number of healthcare assistants working in B.C. to strengthen the level of care for people in long-term care homes and assisted-living residences,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health. “The Health Career Access Program is underway and is already helping train workers for some of the most important jobs in B.C.”

The funding will create the first 600 new training seats at public post-secondary institutions for healthcare assistants as part of the Health Career Access Program. The program was announced in September 2020 to meet the demand for healthcare assistants in B.C.’s long-term care and assisted-living residences.

Participants will be hired in long-term care and assisted-living facilities as healthcare support workers. They will be paid while they work and complete coursework to become healthcare assistants.

Also, students who are currently completing a recognized healthcare assistant program and who choose to take employment in the long-term care or assisted-living sector, and commit to a 12-month return-of-service, will be eligible for a recruitment incentive of $5,000.

“Government is investing in relevant programs to enable people impacted by COVID-19 to upskill or reskill so they can return to work or advance their careers,” said Anne Kang, minister of advanced education and skills training. “This funding for healthcare assistant programs supports training for highly valued and respected workers who provide important daily care for our seniors in long-term care and assisted-living facilities.”

“I really enjoyed the preparation process for this launch. But it was so rewarding to see how grateful the students are for this opportunity – you could feel it on the first day of class,” said Sarah Lechthaler, LPN and healthcare assistant program instructor, Selkirk College.

Earlier, Ontario announced it is adding more personnel to the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.

The investment is part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan to help thousands of people upskill or reskill and find their place in the post-COVID-19 economy. StrongerBC outlines the steps government is taking to help people, businesses and communities recover and come out of COVID-19 stronger and better prepared to meet the challenges ahead. It is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response.

In addition to more than 1,000 ongoing healthcare assistant seats annually, new incremental funding of more than $17.4 million since 2017 has supported over 1,500 additional one-time seats, including this $8.4-million boost for training to address staffing needs in assisted-living and long-term care facilities aggravated by COVID-19.

Recently, Manitoba signed a new partnership that will allow healthcare workers delivering care in settings that pose an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 to select the most appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) they require.