MEDIA RELEASE: More Needed to Attract, Retain CCAs

Government’s announcement today is a small step in the right direction towards addressing recruitment and retention issues in the continuing care sector, but it does not go far enough to ensure this work is properly funded, staffed and treated as an integral part of the overall health care system.

“Right now, we need our elected leaders to take a giant leap towards supporting Continuing Care Assistants,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean. “You can hire all the recruiters you want, but if the wages and benefits aren’t competitive with what is being offered in other jurisdictions, workers will not choose to be a part of Nova Scotia’s continuing care sector.”

There are two immediate, meaningful steps government can take: implement the recommended minimum 4.1 daily hours of care for residents in long-term care facilities, and implement standard shifts/shift codes to alleviate stress on home care workers.

In the home care sector, because of non-standard work schedules, some workers are available for 12 to 14 hours a day for what can amount to just a few hours of pay. In some agencies, if a client visit is canceled, the employee has to be willing to pick up visits, at any time, over a 7 to 14 day period to ensure they get paid. Shifts can change without notice, leaving families struggling to make childcare arrangements, forcing employees to miss previously scheduled appointments and preventing employees from being able to fulfill previously made commitments to their families and communities.

The implementation of standard shifts and shift codes would alleviate the stress on workers by bringing stability to their work schedules. It is of vital importance to the retention and recruitment of CCAs in the Home Support Sector that the agencies are funded properly to provide reliable, standard schedules to employees working in the sector.

The retention of CCAs in the home care sector is often also hindered by the ability of some agencies to offer guarantees of income. It is difficult for agencies to retain staff when there is no sustainable level of income and clearly, difficult to attract staff with no guarantee of compensation.

Furthermore, sectors (acute care, long term care, home care) are in competition with each other because compensation levels are not equal.

The department of Health must provide funding to ensure equivalent compensation levels for CCAs in all three settings (acute, long-term care and home care).

“The Premier has pledged to fix health care, and it is critical that we remember that long-term care and home care are a part of health care. They cannot be neglected any longer,” said MacLean.
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The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 31,000 workers who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President Jason MacLean, please contact:
Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer,
902-471-1781 (cell)   

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