Frequently Asked Questions

About careers in seniors’ care and living

Q: What is seniors’ care and living?

Seniors’ care and living includes clinical and non-clinical roles in a variety of care settings, including long-term care homes, assisted living, supportive housing, independent living residences, as well as seniors’ own homes. 

Q: Why work in seniors’ care and living?

  • Caring for seniors is a rewarding profession. You can help elderly residents/clients maintain a level of independence and improve their quality of life. 
  • B.C. needs more health care heroes to care for its frail and elderly population.
  • Jobs are widely available in the sector. By 2030, over 30,000 additional seniors’ care workers will have to be hired to support B.C.’s elderly population. 
  • Seniors’ care and living workers are employed in many work environments, including long-term care homes, assisted living residences, retirement homes, and home and community support.
  • Casual, part-time, or full-time work schedules are available in the sector with a variety of flexible options. 
  • Earn a living wage — the average starting wage in the sector is $21 per hour with benefits. 

Q: Are workers in demand in the sector?

As our population ages, the demand for seniors’ care services grows. Seniors’ care and living is gearing up to be one of the fastest-growing sectors in B.C.’s economy over the next five years. 
  • According to B.C.’s 2021 Labour Market Outlook, 32,600 new workers will be needed in the nursing and residential care sector over the next ten years.  
  • The Government of British Columbia has committed to hiring over 7,000 additional health care workers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including 3,000 additional health care assistants (HCAs) and 2,000 nurses (RNs and LPNs)

Q: What career opportunities are available in seniors’ care and living?

The seniors’ care and living sector offers diverse career paths to newcomers in Canada. 

While health care assistants (HCAs), registered nurses (RNs), and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) make up a majority of the clinical roles, allied health professionals such as physiotherapists (PT), occupational therapists (OT), therapeutic recreation assistants, rehabilitation assistants, social workers, and dietitians/nutritionists provide vital health services to residents/clients.  

In addition to clinical roles, support services workers are also in demand. From health care support workers, home health companions, cooks, chefs, and dietary aides to janitors, housekeeping, and laundry aides, seniors care and living organizations are looking to hire workers who can support the delivery of services to their clients. 

Seniors’ care and living organizations also employ office workers like receptionists and administrative assistants to oversee the day-to-day administrative functions at their sites. A variety of business and administrative roles are also available, including in fields such as marketing, administration, human resources, and finance, among others.

Q: Will I be able to find work in my community?

Seniors’ care and living workers are needed in almost every community in the province, including urban, suburban, rural, and remote areas, as well as in Indigenous communities. Because seniors are aging all across Canada, you can find work in other provinces and territories as well. To learn more about the number of jobs expected in your community, visit WorkBC.ca.

Q: What different work environments can I choose from? 

Seniors’ care and living workers are employed in various care environments, including home support, independent living/retirement residences, and long-term care and assisted living homes. 

Q: How much will I be paid?

Workers in the seniors' care and living sector earn a living wage and enjoy access to benefits. Your compensation package will depend on your position and employer. The average starting wage in most long-term care and assisted living homes is $21 per hour plus benefits. Workers in independent living and family-paid home health settings may earn starting wages between $16 to $20 per hour.

Q: What will my schedule look like? 

Older adults living in care settings need support at all hours of the day. Work in the sector is usually shift work, with a set rotation of days-on and days-off. 

In a care home, day shifts typically run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., evening shifts from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and night shifts from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. 

In home support settings, seniors typically require support in the mornings and evenings, though shifts at all hours are available. 

Casual, part-time, or full-time work schedules are available with a variety of flexible options. You will have the opportunity to discuss your preferred hours of work with your hiring manager. 

Q: How many hours will I work? 

Your work hours will depend on your position within your organization. Full-time (30 to 40 hours per week), part-time (15 to 30 hours per week), and casual positions are available. You may also work overtime if you choose to do so. 

Q. Will I like working in seniors’ care? 

Seniors’ care, as a career, attracts individuals who:
  • are empathetic, compassionate, and patient; 
  • find it rewarding to help others;
  • enjoy spending time with older adults;
  • have strong social skills;
  • can communicate effectively with different kinds of people;
  • have a positive attitude; and
  • can be flexible and adapt to new challenges every day.
If this sounds like you, you will likely find a career in seniors’ care and living to be valuable and fulfilling. 

About COVID-19 

Q: Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19? 

Yes, health care workers in British Columbia must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as per the BCCDC. You may qualify for free vaccination through the B.C. Medical Service Plan (MSP). 

Q: Will I be protected against contracting COVID-19? 

Protecting workers from contracting COVID-19 is a top priority for employers in the seniors' care and living sector. Employers are continuously updating their communicable disease prevention plans, in line with recommendations from the BC Provincial Health Officer. While protections may change depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, some of the safety measures that are in place or have been used throughout the pandemic include: 
  • Mandatory use of personal protective equipment (e.g. masks, gloves, medical gowns, face shields);
  • Mandatory or recommended vaccination against COVID-19
  • Screening for symptoms (e.g. cough, fever);
  • Enhanced cleaning;
  • Staff limited to working only at one care home; and
  • Physical distancing and plastic barriers.

About FAST Seniors Care

Q: What is FAST Seniors Care?

The FAST (Facilitating Access to Skilled Talent) Program helps immigrants to launch careers in Canada through self-paced, online employment preparation and competency assessment tools developed in partnership with Canadian employers. 

FAST programs run across six sector streams: Skilled Trades, IT and Data Services, Culinary Arts, Biotech and Life Sciences, Accounting and Finance, and Seniors’ Care. 

FAST Seniors Care, the program’s latest iteration, was developed in partnership with BC Care Providers Association. It serves as a bridge between B.C. employers who need skilled talent and immigrants seeking to start their careers in the seniors’ care and living sector. 

Q: What is a competency assessment?

FAST’s competency assessment is a tool that measures your previous work experience and education against the industry standard in Canada.

After completing the FAST program, you will receive an assessment report that identifies any gaps in skills and competencies that are required to pursue employment in the seniors’ care and living sector, along with gap training opportunities if you score below the industry threshold for employment.

Q: Which occupations is FAST Seniors Care recruiting for?

We are currently recruiting for:
  • Cook
  • Chef 
  • Dietary aide 
  • Food service worker 
  • Food services management 
  • Recreation assistant
  • Home health companion 
The program will soon recruit for the following roles:
  • Registered nurse 
  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Health care assistant
  • Support services positions (e.g. housekeeper, laundry aide)
  • Supportive care assistant 
  • Receptionist or office worker

Q: Am I eligible?

You are eligible for FAST Seniors Care if you:
  • have arrived in Canada with a permanent resident (PR) status,
  • were selected to become a permanent resident, and have received either of the following:
    • an invitation letter/Planning for Canada brochure from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or
    • a medical notification letter, or
    • a visa pick-up notification letter, or
    • a visa, or
    • a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR),
  • are a convention refugee or protected person who has been selected for resettlement in Canada by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 


  • are able to communicate effectively at a Canadian workplace skill level,
  • have two or more years of work experience and/or relevant training in your chosen career stream. 

Q: How does FAST work for immigrants?

1. Registration
Take a few minutes to check your eligibility below and register for FAST for free. Once approved, your welcome email will direct you to your FAST account and your sector-specific stream to get started. 

2. Complete FAST in one of six streams 
Your online employment preparation will consist of:
• a Learning Module: preparing for work in Canada
• an Assessment Module: essential skills, workplace competencies, and/or technical skills assessments in your chosen sector.

3. Receive a Certificate of Completion and a FAST assessment report 
• Get directed to further learning and gap training opportunities to advance in your career.

4. Mentoring and networking
• Register for group e-mentoring and online networking.
• Get referrals to local networking resources.

5. Job search and support
• Receive free access to a simulated job interview tool. 
• Get referrals to job search services through partner organizations.

Q: How much will this cost?

FAST Seniors Care is a free service available to pre-approved or landed immigrants to Canada.

Q:  What resources are available to me?

There are many organizations and informational websites that help new immigrants in Canada get settled in the country, and prepare for careers in the seniors’ care and living sector. See our regularly updated list here.

Q: How does FAST help me get a job?

FAST Seniors Care helps to assess your previous work experience and education against what is required to work in Canada and directs you to gap training opportunities so you can be prepared to pursue a career in the seniors’ care and living sector. 
The program is designed to help you to enter the job market by offering a starting point in learning about occupational opportunities in the sector of your choice, valuable insight into the Canadian workplace, and an entry point into building professional contacts and networks in your sector. 

Q: Where can I learn more about training opportunities?

Our list of training opportunities for various roles in the seniors’ and living sector is updated regularly. If you cannot find current programs for your chosen occupation, check back with us soon!

Q: Who is involved?

FAST’s services and resources are delivered by the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia (IEC-BC), funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre. IEC-BC has partnered with BC Care Providers Association and its operating arm EngAge BC, and InSite to develop and deliver the program’s new seniors’ care and living stream. 

Q: How can I get in touch with you?

If you have any other questions, please reach out to us at fastbc@iecbc.ca.

About employer services

Q: How does FAST help employers in the seniors’ care and living sector?

FAST Seniors Care connects employers to pre-assessed, qualified immigrants who are looking to launch their careers in seniors’ care and living. 

By hiring candidates who have completed FAST’s online employment preparation and competency assessments, employers can be confident that their new talent is ready for Canadian employment. FAST candidates possess fundamental workplace and cultural skills, as well as foundational occupational skills, and meet English language requirements. 

Click here to learn more about signing up for FAST Seniors Care as an employer partner.