We know our workforce inside and out

Since 2018, CHAA has regularly consulted with our member organizations about the state of our 20,000-member workforce. We’ve stayed on top of workforce composition, critical shortages, recruitment and retention challenges, and future planning requirements. Planning ahead and advocating for solutions has always been a top priority for non-profit operators.

As COVID-19 arrived in Canada in 2020 and into our care homes, CHAA continued to consult with operators on the evolving impact. By 2022, after two consecutive years of pandemic pressures, the toll on our workforce was unmistakable: high levels of moral distress and burnout among staff; and ongoing recruitment, retention and staffing stability challenges reported by 80% of CHAA operators.

And then everything changed

The workforce recruitment strategies the sector had relied on for decades was under threat. The familiar pool of international workers had dwindled to a trickle during the pandemic. Enrolment in post-secondary institutions was declining. Some workers retired early or moved on to other careers. And the gap was increasingly being filled by agency staff.

CHAA operators quickly banded together to discuss the ongoing challenges and identify workable solutions. We supported each other by sharing novel approaches and outcomes data. And we came together as a single voice to funders about sector-wide solutions and the opportunities to restore and rejuvenate a workforce that was clearly hurting from the effects of COVID-19.  

CHAA’s 2022 recommendations to address workforce challenges

CHAA all-operator consultations between 2020-2022 culminated in a comprehensive November 2022 report, Continuing Care Workforce Report, which proposed the following recommendations:

  • Collect and analyze both system- and operator- level data to better understand the current and future workforce profile.

  • Engage meaningfully with staff learn about their own work experiences and motivations.

  • Increase domestic graduates by growing spaces and increasing funding to programs.

  • Decrease barriers to international credentialling.

  • Plan for a permanent increase in sector-wide demand for surge/contingency/agency staffing.

  • Adjust the funding model to reduce inequities and hardship to operators.

  • Consider the role of collective agreements in creating a more responsive, flexible operating environment.

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