#CareToChat wrap up on health human resources

There was a full house at Terminal City Club for our latest Care to Chat panel, co-hosted by the BC Lower Mainland Chapter of the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL). This event focused on the challenges of Health Human Resources (HHR) in the continuing care sector, which is a timely discussion given that the B.C. government have provided new funding to hire approximately 1,500 new care workers.

It was a lively 90-minute discussion moderated by Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BCCPA, which was captured in its entirety through a Facebook Live stream which you can view here. Our panelists Jaimie AshtonAnita DicksonMichael McMillan, and David Thompson brought their valuable perspectives.

Some of the topics discussed included the former BC Cares Project launched in 2008 which was a successful collaboration between the BCCPA, labour and the provincial government. BC Cares was a marketing and communications program funded by the province and aimed at encouraging young British Columbians and others to consider a career in the seniors care sector.

The issue of attracting and retaining new workers in rural BC was also referenced. Members of the panel pointed to the fact that high housing costs in the Lower Mainland may end up helping rural parts of the province attract and retain new workers.

Fontaine told the crowd that the BCCPA, Ministry of Health and the Health Authorities have been working the last two years to develop a robust health human resource strategy which he expects will be unveiled later this year. “These types of comprehensive strategies only work when they are done in collaboration and through partnerships. Given the federal government’s interest in job training, they too must also be at the table.”

Michael McMillan lamented the fact that other industries such as film and tourism are better at showcasing job vacancies and making their sector more attractive to new workers. Fontaine added that perhaps the time has come for the BCCPA to organize an annual Seniors Care Job Fair which will help support our health human resources strategy.

Jaimie Ashton, who works for the Vancouver Division of Family Practice, tried to dispel the myth that doctors aren’t attracted to work in seniors care. She cited statistics that showed some of their initiatives are helping attract new doctors interested in working in a residential care setting. “We have been very successful in the last couple of years in attracting doctors to consider working in a residential care setting.” It is hoped that a similar approach will yield the same results in other health regions.

David Thompson from Providence Health Care mentioned that it critical we move forward with the development of a made-in-BC health human resource plan now that we are hiring an additional 1,500 new workers. Anita Dickson, President of the Licensed Practical Nurses Association, spoke to the important need to ensure our workers are properly trained with hands-on work experience when they graduate.

We would like to thank Rexall Health Solutions – our Title Sponsor – and their national and local representatives in attendance, for their ongoing support of this speaker series.

This event was also a unique partnership with the CCHL in BC. For the first time ever, the BCCPA and CCHL agreed to co-host and market a Care to Chat panel discussion.

“We have an amazing group of sponsors who have supported us over the year and they deserve our sincere thanks,” says Fontaine.  “Our unique partnership with CCHL this time round served to strengthen our event. I’m hopeful we can do it again next year.”

The final Care to Chat of this season is taking place in Whistler, BC, during our 40th Anniversary Conference.


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