Help Wanted: Are We Doing Enough to Attract and Retain the Continuing Care Workforce of the Future?

On April 7, 2017, the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) and the BC Lower Mainland Chapter of the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL) will be co-hosting a special Care to Chat event focusing on the challenges of Health Human Resources (HHR) in the continuing care sector.

One of the most pressing issues facing the continuing care sector is ensuring sufficient levels of care providers exist now and in the future to meet the needs of an aging population. A 2016 SafeCare BC survey reports that 60% of non-government long term care homes were regularly short staffed, and that the problem is particularly acute in the Vancouver Island (78%) and Interior (65%) health regions. The positions most commonly identified as having the chronic shortages were care aides and health care assistants (66%), LPNs (47%), and RNs (47%).

In September 2016, the BCCPA, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, brought together over 140 stakeholders from across the health care sector at the inaugural BC Continuing Care Collaborative. At this event labour shortages and the need for immediate solutions to improve the recruitment and retention of care providers were identified as among the top priorities by the health leaders who participated from across the province.

As outlined in a series of policy papers released by the Ministry of Health in 2015 the province currently lacks a coherent, comprehensive and sustained health human resource strategy. It notes that recruiting and retaining health service providers is key to ensuring that British Columbians have access to the health services including in rural and remote parts of the province. Subsequently, the Ministry has identified care aides and health care assistants as priority professions for immediate action .

To better deal with issues around the recruitment and retention of health care providers for seniors care there must be a coordinated role between the continuing care sector, Ministry of Health and Health Authorities working collaboratively with colleges and universities.

This event will include a panel of sector, government, health authority and other representatives to discuss collaborative solutions to the current HHR challenges being faced by BC’s continuing care sector. Along with focusing on how we can better recruit, train and retain workers into this vital sector, the panel will look at issues such as high workplace injury rates including worker stress and burnout, the use of multidisciplinary care teams, new care models as well as integrating new health professionals and the unique challenges faced in rural and remote communities.

Care to Chat panelists are as follows:

  • Jaimie Ashton, Director of Special Projects, Vancouver Division of Family Practice
  • Anita Dickson, President, Licensed Practical Nurse Association of BC
  • Michael McMillan, President & CEO of Health Employers Association of BC
  • David Thompson, Vice President, Seniors Care & Chief Quality, Safety and Performance Improvement Officer, Providence Health Care 

The moderator of this event will be Daniel Fontaine, BCCPA CEO. 

Daniel Fontaine, BCCPA CEO

Daniel Fontaine works as the Chief Executive Officer for the BC Care Providers Association in Vancouver. Over the course of his career he has worked in the private and not-for-profit sectors as well as government.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Manitoba, Fontaine went on to complete the Media Writing and Public Relations certificate from Langara College. He was appointed to the Board of Directors for Douglas College and served on the BC College of Psychologists from 2004-2010.

From 2005 to 2008, Fontaine also served as the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Mayor of Vancouver. He was appointed to the Board of Directors for SafeCare BC in 2015 with a mandate to reduce workplace injuries in the long-term care sector.

In 2012 Fontaine was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for public service. He was born in St. Boniface, Manitoba and moved to British Columbia in 1989. He is an active member of the New Westminster Minor Hockey Association. In 2016 they presented him with the Volunteer of the Year award.

Anita Dickson, Licensed Practical Nurse Association of BC

Anita Dickson President, Licensed Practical Nurse Association of BC 

As an LPN and a manager, Anita Dickson appreciates the lens of operations of organizations, but her true vocation is to help people. She went back to school as an adult learner starting her health care career as an RCA, for 5 years working in Special Care units and Extended Care. Anita has worked as an LPN since 2001 in all areas of practice that were possible in Residential, Hospice and Acute Care (ER, Cardia Step Down, Palliative Tertiary, Ortho, Neuro and Med/ Surg). Anita has advanced her skills through further education, becoming an Instructor for both Classroom, clinical and Advance Palliative teaching in the new Practical Nursing program. Anita has found it to be exciting to be able to be part of policy writing and to provide consultations to help support LPN professional practice across a large health authority.

Jaimie Ashton, Director of Special Projects, Vancouver Division of Family Practice

Jaimie Ashton, Director of Special Projects, Vancouver Division of Family Practice

Ashton joined the Vancouver Division of Family Practice (VDoFP) in 2013 as a Senior Consultant and moved into her present roll in February 2016. In her role as Director of Special Projects she designs, develops, manages, and supports strategic projects, initiatives, and programming focused on the Divisions work in Residential and Frail Elder Care. The largest of which is the VDoFP’s Residential Care Initiative which was launched July 1, 2015. This initiative has made a significant impact on the Residential Care landscape within Vancouver and it is this ability to contribute to positive systemic change that drives her. She has spent her whole career working in, or in support of, the public sector; transitioning into health care from the field of educational technology. She has found that her previous experience has uniquely prepared her to support the exciting developments occurring within health care and the Residential and Frail Elder Care sector in particular.

Michael McMillan, President & CEO of Health Employers Association of BC 

Michael McMillan, President & CEO of Health Employers Association of BC

McMillan assumed President & CEO responsibilities at HEABC on August 15, 2016. He brings extensive health care operational experience and knowledge of the BC health care system to his leadership role at HEABC, gained though increasingly senior health care administration roles.

Most recently, Michael was Chief Operating Officer, Northern Interior Heath Service Delivery Area (NIHSDA) for Northern Health, where he was responsible for the delivery of high-quality health care services in Northern Health’s most populous health service delivery area, including the city of Prince George, and the region’s largest hospital, the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC), as well as pharmacy services for all of Northern Health.

McMillan is also active in leadership roles at the provincial level as co-chair of the BC Health Technology Assessment Committee and a member of the BC Ministry of Health Standing Committee of Co-chairs.

He has a B.Sc. in pharmaceutical sciences and an MBA, both from the University of BC.

David Thompson, Vice President of Seniors Care & Chief Quality, Safety and Performance Improvement Officer 

David Thompson, Providence Health Care, Vice President Seniors Care & Chief Quality, Safety and Performance Improvement Officer

Thompson joined Providence Health Care in 2008. He is responsible for the Elder Care Program and Palliative Services as well as PHC’s strategies for Seniors Care, Chronic Disease Management and Telehealth. David is also responsible for Quality, Safety and Performance Improvement at PHC. He is the Senior Leadership Team liaison for the Tapestry Foundation for Health Care, St. Michael’s Centre and Little Mountain Society.

He has held leadership roles in the BC Health Care system for over 20 years. He is a Certified Health Executive (CHE) of the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL) and CCHL Board representative for British Columbia. He is a Surveyor with Accreditation Canada and serves on the Board of Accreditation Canada. He has completed his Executive Training in Research Application (EXTRA) Fellowship through the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. He has served on many provincial committees throughout his career in the areas of seniors care, residential services, information management and quality and utilization improvement.

When:     Friday April 7th 2017
Where:    Terminal City Club, Vancouver
Time:       11:30 am – 2:00 pm

Special partnership rates

  • $50.00 BCCPA and CCHL members
  • $60.00 Non-Members
  • $30.00 Students

Click here to register.

Educational Partner


MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION                                                  Attendance at this program entitles certified Canadian College of Health Leaders members (CHE / Fellow) to 1.25 Category I credits toward their maintenance of certification requirement.


Title Sponsor


Gold Sponsor

Medical-Pharmacies - Silver

Silver Sponsors

Justice Institute of BC - 2015-16 Care to Chat - Silver  ubc