Pilot Program to Educate More CCAs, More Quickly

A new continuing care assistant (CCA) program will be tested this year with the goal of improving training and getting more CCAs delivering quality care sooner.

A six-month training program with updated curriculum that better reflects the complex care needs of older Nova Scotians will be piloted in April, with a second class in the fall. The current average length of CCA training is eight months.

“Continuing care assistants play a critical role in the delivery of care to Nova Scotians. We owe it to them to make sure the training is up to date and reflects the needs of those they care for,” said Barbara Adams, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care. “By delivering more responsive training faster, we can get CCAs providing quality care to home-care clients and long-term care residents sooner.”

The pilot course content will include more emphasis on equity, diversity, inclusion, reconciliation and accessibility, while addressing complexities of dementia and palliative care, as well as behavioural support. The program will continue to focus on core training components such as resident safety, personal care and social and mental well-being.

The program is a partnership with the Employment Nova Scotia division of Labour, Skills and Immigration, Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and Shannex. Each class can have 24 students.

The pilot program has been designed to attract people to the profession and retain them with competitive wages and benefits during their training and full-time work afterward. Students in the pilot will receive free tuition and books and a wage supplement from Employment Nova Scotia. Employment Nova Scotia will also offer support for transportation, child care, technology, tutoring and moving costs.

More information about the pilot program, including applications for the April class, is available at: https://shannex.com/cca-program/

The Province is investing about $3.6 million in the pilot program. This includes costs associated with curriculum development, revised learning standards, adjustments for the CCA exam, student supports and administration.


“This innovative pilot program will not only get high-in-demand CCAs into the workforce faster, it will help attract and retain new entrants into the sector with a competitive wage, benefits and continuous full-time work. These individuals care for our loved ones across the province and we want to make sure they receive the support they need to be successful in their training.”
— Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration

“The college is always pleased to work in partnership with government and industry to bring new solutions to critical labour issues. Accessibility is key to NSCC’s mission – bringing post-secondary education and training opportunities to communities across our province to help grow and diversify the workforce. As the continuing care system supports are everyone’s concern, we hope this pilot will help address some of the areas of urgent need.”
— Don Bureaux, President, Nova Scotia Community College

“Continuing care assistants are essential members of our long-term care teams – and we need more. It makes sense for us to work collaboratively and invest our resources to meet our communities’ need for more elder care.”
— Vanessa White, Vice-President, People and Culture, Shannex

Quick Facts:

  • the continuing care assistant program is offered at NSCC, Université Sainte-Anne, and seven private career colleges
  • the CCA training program is reviewed every five years and was last reviewed in 2020
  • students will be accepted into the pilot program based on NSCC’s current CCA program admission requirements; NSCC instructors will support curriculum development and deliver the pilot training
  • Shannex will provide classroom and lab space, half of students’ wages and a guaranteed job for two years
  • the Province will continue to cover tuition costs for students in CCA programs

Additional Resources:

Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve healthcare: https://novascotia.ca/actionforhealth/