CHAA members operate in 50% of all municipal districts in Alberta and have a decades-long history serving rural areas of the province. We’re strong champions in recognizing that rural areas have always been challenged to recruit and retain the right number and mix of skilled health care staff.

Why? Because the pool of skilled employees in rural areas is considerably smaller than in urban areas. Some urban Albertans are less willing to consider establishing roots and raising families in rural areas. The small population of residents in rural care homes may mean there are largely part-time rather than full-time care positions available. And two-career families may experience difficulties finding rural employment options for the non-health-care worker in the household.

Housing and public transportation options can be difficult to secure in rural areas — particularly for newcomers to Canada. And domestically, students in schools across Alberta may lack exposure to dual-credit programming or apprenticeship-style learning in health care careers.

 As a province, Alberta is a leader in the country with respect to supporting rural communities with innovative policies and incentives. Our province’s health care unions have also shown tremendous leadership and innovation in finding novel solutions to rural workforce challenges. 

CHAA operators regularly discuss rural recruitment and retention strategies in a collaborative rather than competitive frame of mind. We have submitted multiple solution ideas to government to demonstrate our commitment to work together on sector-wide approaches that are comprehensive and cost-effective.

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