Healthcare workforce development annual report"> Healthcare workforce development" /> Healthcare workforce development – Colleges and Institutes Canada Annual Report

Healthcare workforce development

Canadian healthcare is undergoing significant stress. The aging population, advancements in medical technology and infectious disease outbreaks and threats are shaping the demands for healthcare services. As these demands grow, healthcare professionals face increased workloads and resource constraints. There is now an urgent need for innovative solutions, collaborative partnerships and strategic investments to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of our healthcare system.

CICan has been charting this change by ensuring our members are equipped to meet the evolving demands of Canada’s healthcare landscape. Our initiatives throughout the past year have helped members build a skilled workforce and address acute labour shortages in critical healthcare sectors.

Making healthcare work-integrated learning opportunities accessible

Throughout 2023-24, CICan added 60 new innovative learning experiences to our unique Virtu-WIL (Virtual Work-Integrated Learning) collection of virtual simulations for healthcare education. In partnership with Simulation Canada, the program provides innovative, cost-effective, and scalable work-integrated learning opportunities.

With these new additions, educators and students across the country now have free access to over 185 simulations to enhance curriculum and learning in nursing, paramedicine, medical laboratory technologies and, sonography a new addition to the project. These simulations include a strong emphasis on equity, diversity and inclusion, ensuring accessibility to educators and leaners across Canada.

The simulation met my expectations of being effective, engaging, interactive, and easy to follow. It was very realistic. There is no doubt these simulations boosted my confidence and helped improve certain skills needed in a practical setting.

– Virtu-WIl participant

So far, over 6,000 students at more than 40 institutions have benefitted, increasing their clinical competencies, confidence, and readiness for work in healthcare settings.

Meeting labour shortages in long-term care

Our Supportive Care Assistant program, a fully subsidized national microcredential developed through the collective expertise of our members, recently concluded. Delivered by over 25 institutions, this upskilling initiative successfully launched over 1,000 healthcare careers and provided crucial support to more than 400 facilities. The program is now an open educational resource and has been used in various contexts.

The program provided participants with an introduction to a new sector and potential new career path. It opened a door to students who previously faced barriers to attending a traditional post-secondary program. It’s always beneficial to have ongoing workforce development programs to deliver, as there is a need in our community for such programming. The added benefit of the upskilling initiative has been a boost to our college.

– Loyalist College, ON

CICan’s first National Occupational Standard for personal care providers also became widely available in 2023-24. Designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s challenges such as labor shortages and skill gaps, this standard assists employers, job seekers, workers, students, and educators in making informed decisions regarding hiring, skills training, and career paths.

While working in the housekeeping field, I was contemplating getting a Health Care Aide certificate. I saw the Supportive Care Assistant program as the perfect opportunity to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue my new career path.

– Arlyn Estolero, SCA Graduate