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

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Rogue masseur arrested for sexual assault in Victoria

John Heintzelman, 65, is accused of assaulting a person at his former business, James Bay Massage

Hey Amazon, the bid’s in the mail: Langford mayor

The City of Langford has officially submitted its bid to become the home of Amazon HQ2.

WEEKEND HITS: Here’s what’s happening in Sooke this weekend

Looking for something to do over the next few days. Here are… Continue reading

‘Think of me’ puts human face to speeding

Children’s illustrations deliver a plea to speeding drivers

WATCH: Greater Victoria restaurant chain stepping up after employee struck by SUV

31-year-old Khushal Rana fighting for his life in Victoria hospital

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

Weekend hit list: Things to see and do in Greater Victoria

The Victoria Fall Home Expo returns, Rebels host the Cullen Cup, a gallery tour and more

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Director pledges to eat a worm for donation to Saanich sanctuary

$500 donation to Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary will see Kathleen Burton chow down on mealworms Oct. 29

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Salmon have arrived in Saanich

Two weeks ago, Dorothy Chambers, lead steward with Colquitz River fish fence,… Continue reading

Most Read