Competency & Occupation Specific

This HCA Core Competency Profile establishes a set of competencies (knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes) that HCAs in BC are expected to possess as an outcome of their baseline education. These competencies reflect the minimum standards required to ensure that HCAs provide the public with safe, competent and ethical care. The Ministry of Health reviewed and made minor amendments to this document to ensure its alignment with provincial health legislation and to support the release of the Health Care Assistant Program Provincial Curriculum (2023).

The National Occupational Standard for Personal Care Providers (PSWs, CCAs, HCAs, etc.) is a voluntary guide which outlines the skills, knowledge and abilities that these workers need to succeed in the occupation. It is a guide for Canadian employers, educators, and job seekers to make informed decisions about hiring, skills training, and career choices.

The Health Care Assistant Program Provincial Curriculum 2023 provides program learning outcomes and performance indicators for the British Columbia Health Care Assistant program. It gives detailed information about the courses, including course descriptions, minimum course hours, course learning outcomes, and the content for each course. These courses are the minimum requirements that all post-secondary institutions offering a recognized Health Care Assistant (HCA) program in British Columbia must meet. This guide also provides foundational information about the HCA program including the values, beliefs, and principles that are fundamental to HCA practice; curriculum organizing concepts; and foundational principles. The HCA program is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to function effectively as front-line caregivers and respected members of the health care team.

The Health Care Assistant Provincial Curriculum (2015) Supplement is an ancillary resource designed to support the delivery and assessment of the required learning outcomes and course content set out in the HCA Provincial Curriculum (2015). Within the Health Care Assistant Provincial Curriculum (2015) Supplement – Third Edition, a section called Self-Assessment Video Scenarios was added to the Healing 3: Personal Care and Assistant course. This section includes links to five video scenarios for students to watch to prepare for their practice experiences. A section entitled Preceptor and Clinical Instructor Orientation Tools was added to support the delivery of the practice education segment of the program.

WorkBC website

WorkBC is committed to helping British Columbians successfully navigate B.C.’s labour market by providing searchable job board listings and up-to-date labour market information.

3413 Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates (also known as Care Aides or Health Care Assistants)

4412 Home Support Workers (also known as Community Health Workers or Health Care Assistants)

Indigenous Cultural Safety and Humility

Cultural Safety and Humility (First Nations Health Authority Website)

The First Nations Health Authority website provides many valuable resources, including:

  • BC Cultural Safety and Humility Standard
  • Anti-Racism, Cultural Safety and Humility Framework and Action Plan
  • Territorial Acknowledgments Information
  • Resource libraries
  • Declarations of Commitment and Timeline information
  • Access to the Cultural Safety and Humility Action Webinar Series
  • Information about Trauma Informed and Culturally Safe Care


Cultural Safety and Humility (BC College of Nurses & Midwives (BCCNM) website)

In partnership with the College of Physicians and Surgeons in BC, the BCCNM created several important resources.  Health care assistants are encouraged to review this information to learn about how to provide culturally safe care.

Occupational Health and Safety

SafeCare BC is an industry funded, non-profit society working to ensure injury free, safe working conditions for long term care workers in BC. Their website provides comprehensive information and resources for injury prevention and safety training.

Injury Prevention Resources for Health Care by topic (Chemical and Physical Hazards, Dementia, General Ergonomics, General Safety, Infectious Disease, Patient Handling, Slips and Trips, Violence) and by sector (Home Care, Social Services).

Dementia Education

Resources for health care providers who are supporting people with dementia and their families.

Alzheimer’s and dementia training videos for professionals and families by internationally renowned dementia expert, Teepa Snow.

Elder Abuse Prevention

The Ministry of Health has developed a course on Recognizing and Responding to Adult Abuse, of interest to concerned individuals and anyone who acts in a caregiving or service-providing capacity, whether at home, in the community, or in a professional setting. This easy to follow, eLearning training module was designed in collaboration with the health authorities and key stakeholders, and is intended to build awareness about recognizing, preventing and responding (including the duty to report, where relevant) to the abuse of adults. The course is publicly available through the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) LearningHub. A certificate will be issued upon completion.

The Elder Abuse Reduction Curricular Resource consists of an instructor’s guide and a presentation for teaching core competencies in elder abuse prevention, detection and response in British Columbia. Within the guide, instructors will find activities, assignments, online video links, readings and evaluation questions, as well as references to additional resources for some topic areas. An environmental scan was completed prior to completing the curricular resource. The full report from this scan and the associated Appendix A is also available here. These materials were developed and assembled in 2014 by BCcampus as part of the Elder Abuse Reduction Education Project. This project was sponsored by the Ministry of Advanced Education in response to Together to Reduce Elder Abuse ̶ B.C.’s Strategy: Promoting Well-Being and Security for Older British Columbians.

BC CEAS works to prevent elder abuse and to provide assistance and support to older adults that are, or may be, abused and those whose rights have been violated. They provide programs that educate, support and advocate on behalf of their clients. Programs include: Seniors Abuse & Information Line (SAIL); Victim Services Program; Legal Programs; Education & Outreach Programs including the “Seniors Reaching Out to Seniors” program.

Through four moving portraits, this short documentary sheds light on the tragedy of caregiver stress and elder abuse. The abuse takes many forms, ranging from wilful neglect and financial exploitation to physical assault. The film portrays the emotional complexity of family relationships that can lead to abuse of the elderly, the anguish and isolation of its victims, and the need for community understanding and support.

The Government of BC has developed an Information Kit to help older adults learn how to prevent abuse, recognize abuse when it happens, know how to respond, and know where they can find assistance.

A book-style compilation of information and resources to help us all plan for and live a healthy lifestyle as we age. It includes information on provincial and federal programs, with sections on benefits, health, lifestyle, housing, transportation, finances, safety and security, and other services.

This United Way Lower Mainland directory of information and resources for family and friend (unpaid) caregivers is designed to provide relevant community resource information with a goal of reducing caregiver stress, reducing isolation, and improving quality of life.

Violence Prevention Education

The Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum (PVPC) was developed in 2010 to fill a need for effective, recommended, and provincially recognized violence prevention (VP) education for all British Columbia health care workers across a range of care settings, including affiliate organizations. The PVPC was refined and updated in 2015 to align with trauma informed practice, dementia care, and paediatric care principles.

In multi-level/complex care, being struck or grabbed is the second most common cause of occupational injury after overexertion. In British Columbia, this accounts for more than 1,000 time-loss claims per year—many of which are related to caring for people with dementia.

Interprofessional Competency Tools

This free, online module helps internationally educated health care professionals develop competencies that support effective interprofessional collaborative practice.

TBC on the Run is an open access online module series designed to promote collaborative models of practice and support the development of team-based competencies.

HCA Mentorship Resources

Island Health Authority has developed these resources for Peer Mentors who support Health Care Support Workers (HCSWs) and Peer Mentors who want to learn more about the HCSW role.

PHSA has developed a Mentor Discussion Forum for those in formal or informal mentor roles to share their experiences and pose questions. This is a forum to learn from each other and develop competencies as a mentor. A LearningHub account is required to access this discussion forum. For more information about LearningHub mentorship courses that may be of interest to HCAs, click here.

Self-Assessment Resources

Essential Skills Profiles describe how workers in this occupation use each of the nine essential skills: reading, document use, writing, numeracy, oral communication, thinking, digital technology (originally, computer use), working with others and continuous learning. Free online assessments can be taken with a goal of developing and building skills levels in the foundational areas of reading, document use and numeracy.