The CFNU Logo
March 22, 2024

Statement on new provincial continuing care regulations in Alberta

Long-term care
Safe Staffing

Silas: Standards of care are needed to protect patients and residents.

Canada’s nurses echo the concerns raised by the United Nurses of Alberta on new provincial continuing care regulations.

“As many jurisdictions are moving towards models of nurse-patient ratios aimed at improving patient care and retaining nurses, what we seem to be seeing in Alberta is a move in the opposite direction”, said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). Set to come into effect April 1, these new regulations will eliminate the minimum number of hours of nursing care required for patients in continuing care in Alberta.

There is no mention of minimum hours of required nursing care in the new Continuing Care Regulation soon to come into effect in Alberta. In the old regulations governing nursing homes (continuing care facilities), the Nursing Home Operation Regulations set out a regulation stating a minimum of 1.9 hours of paid personal care and nursing services per resident per day, with a minimum of 22% being provided by nurses (registered nurse, certified graduate nurse or registered psychiatric nurse).

In January of 2023 the Health Standards Organization and CSA Group released independent long-term care standards for homes across Canada. These standards recommended a minimum of 4.1 hours of direct care per day, much more even than the 1.9 hours previously legislated in Alberta. The national standard puts regulation of minimum hours in the hands of jurisdictions, and the Alberta government has further downloaded this responsibility to individual continuing care facilities by eliminating any minimum requirements.

“Provincial and territorial standards should be in line with the HSO and CSA standard. This adherence should NOT be optional,” explained Silas.

“Across Canada we are seeing greater patient acuity in long-term and continuing care more than ever. Higher proportions of regulated staff, especially nurses, are required to address this increase in the level of care needed by patients,” explained Silas. “Adequate staffing ratios mean that patients and residents get the care they need and deserve.”

The CFNU is calling on the federal government to ensure the awaited Safe Long-Term Care Act has mandatory and enforceable national long-term care standards.