To help improve the educational standards of health care assistants (HCAs) in British Columbia, the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry is developing an HCA program recognition process to ensure that all HCA students in the province receive the same level of training. To be approved by the Registry, an educational institution offering an HCA program will have to demonstrate that it follows the provincial curriculum and meets minimum delivery standards.
The BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) supports the improvement of HCA’s occupational competencies through education standards. Improved competencies will help enhance the quality of care for British Columbians, including seniors who receive personal care and assistance in residential care settings and in their homes. As currently drafted, however, the Registry’s program recognition process may hamper this objective – as it may create more barriers, confusion and complexities. When combined with the Registry’s overall flaws, the program recognition process is adding to an already broken model.
In a letter dated August 22, 2013, the BCCPA wrote to the Registry and Ministry of Advanced Education to express some concerns and to seek clarity on three issues regarding the proposed program recognition process. The BCCPA:
- asked the Registry and Ministry to confirm that out of province and international applicants, who successfully complete a knowledge exam and have their skills assessed, will continue to be eligible to register with the Registry after July 30, 2014 – rather than “only graduates from BC HCA programs”;
- is interested in receiving the Registry’s explanation that two or more years of Canadian nursing experience is a bona fide occupational requirement for HCA program instructors; and
- asked the Registry whether it is amenable to undertaking further consultation regarding the English competency requirements for non-native English speaking student applicants.
Enhancing HCA’s occupational competencies through education standards is a laudable goal. Given the importance of this matter to our members, seniors and their families, the BCCPA remains committed to finding solutions to achieve the well-intentioned Registry mandate of protecting vulnerable British Columbians, improving standards of care and promoting professional development. The BCCPA is looking forward to receiving a response from the Registry and Ministry.