News release

Investments to Attract, Retain Continuing Care Workers, Add More Beds

The Province is investing about $57 million to support those working in continuing care, add more staff and open more beds more quickly to seniors waiting for long-term care.

Investments are aimed at hiring additional continuing care assistants and improving working conditions, improving care for seniors, and making empty beds in other facilities available to seniors.

“Seniors deserve dignity, and we will make sure that the supports are in place to care for them and give them what they need as they age,” said Premier Tim Houston. “They have given us so much, and it’s our turn to take care of them. Our vision for the future is twofold – a modern system that meets the needs of seniors and a skilled workforce to provide the care and support that seniors need. These investments will help us do just that.”

The single biggest investment is $22 million over the next two years to cover 100 per cent of tuition costs for over 2,000 students in continuing care assistant programs. Students will have the option of taking full- or part-time studies or participating in a new ‘work and learn’ training program that allows them to earn money while learning. Students in the new program will be in the workforce starting in February.

Other human resources investments in the next two and a half years include:

  • $8 million to provide long-term care homes with funding to offer their casual and part-time employees full-time positions or to hire more staff to provide direct care
  • $3.1 million to hire temporary staff through employment agencies while the Province builds a larger workforce
  • $3.1 million in tuition rebates for current continuing care assistant students
  • $2.1 million to recruit continuing care assistants nationally and internationally
  • $1.4 million to improve staff scheduling and delivery of care
  • $1.3 million to increase professional development opportunities for staff
  • $1.3 million to attract workers to parts of the province where staffing is the most challenging
  • $630,000 to double the number of people (to 600) having their prior skills and experience recognized so they can apply for the many available positions in continuing care
  • $466,000 to provide injured or ill employees access to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work services and psychological services.

Investments over the next two and a half years to make more beds available to seniors waiting for long-term care include:

  • $6.1 million to convert and license beds in residential care facilities and assisted living facilities to nursing home level care
  • $5.9 million to license and fund 30 Veterans Affairs Canada beds for Nova Scotians who need them
  • $1.8 million to extend an agreement with Shannex and the Sisters of Charity to keep 23 temporary nursing home beds open for another year.

Quotes:

There are hundreds of elderly parents and grandparents in hospital waiting for a bed in a long-term care home and even more waiting in community. These investments will help seniors get the care they deserve and alleviate pressures in other areas of the healthcare system. These are first steps and just part of our commitment to improving the continuing care system for employees and seniors needing care. Barbara Adams, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care

Our members are committed to ensuring that seniors receive safe, reliable, and high-quality care in the place they call home. Having sufficient human resources and ensuring that staff have a quality of work life that is meaningful and rewarding is essential to meeting this goal of continuing care excellence. Today’s announcements are exceptionally welcome news and represent another step forward in promoting positive change in Nova Scotia’s continuing care sector. We look forward to our continued partnership with the government in supporting implementation of many of these important initiatives. Mary Lee, President and CEO, Health Association of Nova Scotia

CBBC Career College is excited to be part of this critical training initiative announced here today. Since 1958, we have helped transform the lives of thousands of graduates across Nova Scotia. The unique CCA delivery model designed by the college will introduce students to the career of continuing care assistant while they train. This early exposure will help new graduates integrate quickly into the career and will ultimately help address the staff shortages currently experienced across the entire provincial health sector. Henry Devlin, President and CEO, CBBC Career College

Working as a continuing care assistant is so rewarding. The simplest of things like making someone a cup of tea can hugely impact their day. I have always thought of this line of work as bridging the gap between dependence and independence. We are there to make our clients’ lives as easy for them as possible while maintaining their dignity. Today’s investments show that our provincial government recognizes just how important and needed CCAs are in our healthcare system, as well as in the lives of those we care for daily. Tori Jackson, continuing care assistant and Nova Scotia Community College graduate

Quick Facts:

  • hiring more healthcare workers is a key government commitment and part of the Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister’s mandate
  • in addition to doctors and nurses, the government has committed to hiring 1,400 additional continuing care assistants
  • the government is also continuing work to renovate and build 2,500 new single-bed rooms over the next three years

Additional Resources:

The overview document A Healthy Nova Scotia: Solutions for Continuing Care is available at: https://beta.novascotia.ca/documents/improving-continuing-care-investments-support-workers-and-expand-care-seniors

Mandate letter of the Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-SLTC.pdf

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Media Contacts:

Catherine Klimek
Premier’s Office Cell: 902-717-1020 Email:
Kristen Lipscombe
Seniors and Long-Term Care Cell: 902-220-8621 Email: