In December 2014, MCFD implemented a new caregiver screening policy. Since then, a number of Federation members faced challenges implementing the new requirements and, over the past three years, we have been working closely with MCFD to provide feedback from community organizations and to help the ministry identify red flags and solve some of the key problems.
In late March, MCFD released a modified version of the Screening and Assessment of Caregivers in Contracted Agencies policy with much of the feedback from the sector, and Federation members, incorporated. While there remain some implementation issues concerning access to consolidated criminal record checks, the revised version of the policy includes a number of significant changes that reflect the concerns of the community social services sector.
The amended policy reflects a better understanding of the staffed residential care sector that was absent in the original version and concerns regarding possible complaints under the BC Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) and the BC Human Rights Code (HRC) have been addressed. (You can access a PDF of the updated policy here.)
The policy has been also amended in the following, additional ways:
- For prospective caregivers providing care in sub-contracted family care homes, the assessment no longer requires the prospective caregiver’s financial and housing history.
- For prospective caregivers in staffed residential resources, the assessment no longer requires a medical opinion or interviewing about personal history, psychological and mental health, addiction, criminal activity and history of violence and/or abuse.
- For all prospective caregivers in contracted agencies, Canadian citizenship or permanent residency in Canada will not be required.
This has been a long, difficult process but one that shows the value of being a part of The Federation. We were able to advocate for these important changes because so many Federation members were honest and forthright about the impact and concerns they had with the policy and because our colleagues at MCFD came to the table willing to listen and learn.
While this outcome isn’t perfect, it serves as a great example of what’s possible when our sector sticks together to solve problems and effect change in an informed, respectful, and collaborative manner. Many thanks are owed to the Federation members who patiently and persistently documented and explained the impact of the original policy and to our MCFD partners who acted on that information with care and respect.
Our colleagues at MCFD have engaged in honest and productive dialogue with us throughout the implementation process and have remained open to additional feedback and we will continue to work with MCFD on next steps and related issues (like access to the criminal record checks and the self-report audit tool). We will pass on additional information to members as it becomes available. In the meantime, please contact our Member Engagement Lead Kathy Powelson if you have any questions about the new version of this policy.
Federation Executive Director