The College of New Caledonia will be receiving health care assistant seats at both its Mackenzie and Quesnel campus.

The Province is taking action to further increase the number of qualified health care assistants in British Columbia to continue improving care for seniors.

Mackenzie will be receiving $145,000 and eight seats, while Quesnel will receive $150,000 and 14 seats.

“CNC is really excited to have received one-time funding from the Province to be able to offer additional health care assistant programs in Quesnel and in Mackenzie,” Dr Chad Thompson, Vice President of Academic at CNC told MyPGNow. “These are programs that communities are asking for. They’re a priority for Northern Health to be able to increase the health care assistants available.

Thompson said these are programs that they wouldn’t have been able to operate without the funding received from the Province.

Government, through ministries of Health and Advanced Education, Skills and Training, is providing approximately $3.64 million over the next two years to create 418 new health care assistant seats in 14 post-secondary institutions throughout British Columbia. Health care assistants are also known as care aides, community health workers and other titles.

“In long-term care, in the community and in acute care, we need more health care assistants. Ask anyone in need of care and you will hear stories of the value of the work of care aides and community health workers,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This investment to train more health care assistants will help us meet our government’s goal of improving care standards and expanding options for seniors. It will help people get trained for some of the most important and in-demand jobs in our province, making sure British Columbians get the quality care they need and deserve. Four hundred and eighteen new seats in 14 post-secondary institutions will make a big difference.”

There are currently an estimated 25,500 health-care assistants employed by health authorities and affiliated employers in British Columbia. Health care assistants provide personal support services for people living with disabilities and those living with acute or chronic illnesses, including seniors. They work in a variety of settings, including long-term care homes, acute care, home support and assisted living.

There are 17 publicly-funded post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. that offer health care assistant training. Training programs are approximately six to 10 months long. The first of the new seats became available to post-secondary institutions in September 2019.

According to the BC government, increasing the number of trained health care assistants is part of their commitment to strengthen the supports available to seniors. The Province is investing approximately $1 billion over three years to improve care for seniors, including investments in primary care, home health, long-term care and assisted living.