#BCBudget2021: BCCPA lauds new investments to grow the seniors’ care labour force & enhance workplace safety
New permanent funding will begin to address the growing demand for seniors care in B.C.
Burnaby, B.C. (April 20, 2021) – The announcement of new permanent funding to address critical labour shortages in the seniors care sector and enhance resident and worker safety is welcome news for care providers and those B.C. families with a loved one in care, says BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA), the province’s leading voice for the seniors’ living and care sector. BC Budget 2021 commits over $1 billion toward initiatives specifically aimed at improving conditions for long-term care and assisted living operators, such as improving access to PPE and recruiting new staff.
“The COVID-19 health emergency exposed systemic gaps in the delivery of care for seniors — having new permanent funding to address our sector’s labour shortages is an important step toward providing the best care possible,” says Terry Lake, CEO of BCCPA and EngAge BC. “BC Budget 2021 acknowledges that we must grow the seniors care workforce, not only for today’s needs but to meet a surge in demand due to B.C.’s aging demographic.”
BC Budget 2021 commits $585 million in permanent funding over 3 years for the recently established Health Career Access Program (HCAP) to train and hire up to 3,000 people to be health care support workers, with a goal to build capacity in long-term care and assisted living residences. BCCPA has long advocated for new pathways to begin fulfilling, “pandemic proof” careers in seniors care.
The Budget indicates a plan to build new and replace older health authority owned long-term care homes, but not care homes operated by private and non-profit providers. The planned 1,500 beds being promised will fall short of the 30,000 net new beds that will be needed by the next decade.
“We know that the government is committed to renewing the funding model for our sector, and provide the resources needed to make sure B.C. seniors get the care they need. BC Budget 2021 does not explicitly indicate how these changes to the care system will be funded going forward,” says Lake.
Additional funding commitments in BC Budget 2021 include:
- $900 million for testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment, and the vaccination program;
- $68 million “to help seniors with daily living by increasing the number of care aides and other community care providers.”
BC Budget 2021 also provides funding for new “micro-credentialing programs” to support skills development for high-demand healthcare-related occupations. Those seeking careers in the growing fields of home support and independent living are potential beneficiaries of this funding.
“Overall, BC Budget 2021 provides a promising path toward dealing with one of the sector’s greatest challenges — enhancing the workforce and supporting those who care for our elderly loved ones,” adds Lake. “We look forward to continuing our ‘Team B.C.’ collaboration with the province to ensure British Columbians get the right care when and where they need it.”
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About BC Care Providers Association & EngAge BC
Established in 1977, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 425 long-term care, assisted living, and commercial members from across British Columbia. Through its operating arm EngAge BC the organization represents independent living and home health service providers.