B.C. looks to fix staffing shortages in pediatric therapy

Advocates say a $290,000 recruitment plan will be the first in years

The B.C. government is looking for help to recruit pediatric therapists in what one advocate calls the first provincial help the sector has received in close to a decade.

In a request for proposal recently posted online, the Ministry of Children and Family Development says it is looking for someone to create a plan that will recruit and retain pediatric therapists for occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech-language pathology. It’s allocated a maximum of $290,000 for the plan, which is scheduled to start in August and run to the end of next March.

Jason Gordon, the provincial advocate for the BC Association for Child Development and Intervention, says the last time the province set out major resources to pediatric therapy was when it opened the Office of the Provincial Pediatric Recruitment and Retention Coordinator in 2005. Its funding ran out six years later. “(The office staff) would go to job fairs across Canada, to education training programs, and meet with graduating classes from the three professions,” said Gordon.

The lack of grads going into the field is another key problem, Gordon said – as is the lack of spots in the classroom. That number is determined province-wide by the Ministry of Advanced Education. He said ministry officials often refer to what’s most in demand in acute care, rather than in paediatrics, to determine classroom spots.

“The highest need for therapists tends to be for speech-language pathologists, and then occupational therapists, and then physios,” Gordon said. “That demand in the kids’ sector is the exact opposite of what we see in the acute care sector, where there’s a bigger demand for physios and occupational therapists, and speech is somewhat last.”

He said his organization is working with other groups behind the three therapies, but it’s hard with no provincial body to help.

It’s been especially tough to retain therapists because the now-closed provincial office provided online mentoring for new grads in rural locations.

“It made sure that there was continuing education development opportunities in every region of the province,” Gordon said, “so that even if you work in northeastern B.C., where it was really expensive to get to Vancouver for a course, it made sure that there was an opportunity in the north where it was a little bit more accessible.”

Just Posted

UPDATE: Rockslide keeps Coquihalla northbound lane closed

Highway 5 is closed in one direction.

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs petition

Local governments on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Okanagan a hot spot for film industry

Despite wet, smoky year Okanagan attracts $30 million in film production

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Similkameen farms highlighted in foodie show

Several local spots are highlighted in this year’s season of Quest Out West: Wild Food

Your Jan. 22 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

German nurse charged with 97 more murders

Niels Hoegel, serving a life sentence for two murders, has been indicted in nearly 100 more killings.

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

Most Read