Media Release: Logjam of criminal record checks exacerbating care worker shortage in B.C.
Burnaby, B.C. (August 14, 2019): Health care workers in British Columbia are facing wait times of up to six weeks to begin employment due to a significant backlog of criminal record checks.
The Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP), run by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, screens individuals seeking to work with vulnerable adults by checking for criminal convictions, outstanding criminal charges and warrants. CRRP staff are currently processing submissions received on June 28th, 2019.
Seniors’ care workers in B.C. must undergo a criminal record check before beginning employment, as per the Residential Care Regulations and the Criminal Records Review Act.
“Delays in obtaining criminal record checks are making it difficult for seniors to receive the care they need as care providers are struggling to meet staffing requirements,” says Hendrik Van Ryk, COO/VP of Human Resources, H&H Total Care Services.
“We are losing qualified job candidates to other industries due to the backlog, which is yet another obstacle for a sector grappling with a severe health human resources crisis,” he says.
Six weeks of lost employment can cost a care aide approximately $4,725.
B.C. is the only province in Canada which has a separate government agency to manage criminal record checks. Other provinces require health care workers to obtain checks through their local police department.
The processing time for most RCMP-conducted criminal record checks is three business days or less. While more expensive, the checks are known to be just as rigorous as CRRP’s.
“We hope that regulations can be amended to allow employers to meet their requirements through CRRP or their local police department,” says Van Ryk.
The Health Employers Association of B.C. has suggested to its members to expedite criminal record checks by submitting requests online and sharing the results between employers as many frontline workers are employed by multiple organizations either part-time or on a casual basis.
The Criminal Records Review Act requires employers to obtain an authorization for a criminal record check through CRRP for job applicants and existing employees working with vulnerable adults. Applicants must consent to their criminal record check being shared with another organization. Learn more about sharing results here.
BC Care Providers Association recommends that criminal check results for seniors’ care workers should be expedited, which would allow them to begin employment in a timely manner without considerable disruption to the current CRRP.
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About BC Care Providers Association
Established in 1977, the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 340 long-term care, assisted living, home care, home support, independent living, and commercial members from across British Columbia.