HCA News

June 21, 2023 | News

HCA Regulation: Preparing for a New Profession

In December 2020, the Health Professions Act (HPA) was amended to allow for Health Care Aides (HCAs) to be regulated as a distinct health profession. However, no specific date has yet been set for the implementation of these amendments.

When the amendments are implemented, HCAs will be regulated by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) as a distinct profession from Licensed Practical Nurses. At that time, the CLPNA will be renamed the College of Licensed Practical Nurses and Health Care Aides of Alberta.

The CLPNA is currently working with the Government of Alberta, HCAs, and other stakeholders to implement the amendments that will transition HCAs from an unregulated profession to a regulated profession.

Regulation to Increase Public Protection

Regulation promotes improved client safety and quality of care. When regulation comes into effect, the CLPNA will set requirements through the development of standards of practice, policies, and guidelines as well as the administration of a complaints process. These requirements will provide a framework for HCA practice under the HPA and bring clarity to the role.

Working Towards Regulation

In 2022, the CLPNA made progress towards a number of objectives to prepare for the regulation of HCAs. Highlights of our work are presented below.

Current status:

The CLPNA is working to expand our human resource capacity and build processes to support the regulation of a separate health profession.

Benefit to public safety:

Effective use of internal resources will support the CLPNA as it integrates HCAs as a regulated health profession.

Current status:

The CLPNA has engaged developers to support the transition of the HCA Directory to a system similar to the one used for licensed practical nurses.

Benefit to public safety:

The public will have access to a real-time public registry of HCAs, which will assist in identifying that a person providing care as an HCA in Alberta is registered with the regulatory college and determining the HCA’s current registration status.

Once regulated, HCAs will report and track their continuing competence activities, demonstrating a commitment to providing competent care.

Current status:

The CLPNA has engaged external contractors to develop a new name, logo, and messaging to be inclusive of HCAs. The CLPNA is also developing a new website to house information for both LPNs and HCAs.

Benefit to public safety:

A detailed communications and transition plan will assist HCAs in understanding their responsibilities under the new regulation.

The public will be able to find information about HCAs and their responsibilities and accountabilities under the HPA.

Current status:

The CLPNA provided a number of opportunities for engagement and education on regulation in 2022. Videos were created to educate on HCA regulation, and they were distributed via a newly launched site, hcaregulation.com.

A survey was launched to collect responses from HCAs and other stakeholders. Forums were held to answer questions and foster dialogue around regulation. The results of both have been made publicly available on the new site.

Benefit to public safety:

These engagements fostered improved communication between the CLPNA, HCAs, and stakeholders in HCA regulation.

This improved communication supports a smoother transition, as all parties begin to have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of regulation.