BC Government: Ministry broadens hiring credentials for new frontline workers

January 31, 2019

VICTORIA – To better respond to the evolving needs of vulnerable children and families, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has expanded the educational and experiential requirements for new frontline workers, in line with recommendations from Grand Chief Ed John’s report on Indigenous child welfare.

Preference will continue to be given to applicants with a degree in social work or child and youth care. With this expansion, however, hiring managers are now also able to consider the combination of a related degree, post-graduate diploma or post-graduate certificate in a human services field (e.g. psychology, sociology, Indigenous studies), along with a minimum two years of post-degree work experience. This will enable more diversity in the workforce and a greater number of skilled applicants for positions in hard-to-recruit areas of the province.

While this change allows hiring managers to draw from a larger pool of applicants, potential employees are still required to meet the same core competencies as before, and must demonstrate equivalent skills and experience before they can be hired. Once hired, employees must take additional training not covered by degree programs. On-the-job training is under the direct supervision of a senior social worker and a supervisor. Employees must complete a six-month probation period that tests classroom teaching in the real world.

Implementation of Grand Chief Ed John’s report is a priority in the minister’s mandate letter. This is the first change to frontline worker entry-level qualifications in 20 years. The move is expected to help address ongoing challenges in recruiting and retaining frontline staff. It is intended to give the ministry more flexibility to identify community-specific needs, particularly for Indigenous and remote communities, and hire appropriately by considering an applicant’s combination of education and experience in relevant fields beyond social work.

The revised criteria align with hiring practices in most jurisdictions in Canada.

Quick Fact:

  • In his report, Indigenous Resilience, Connectedness and Reunification – from Root Causes to Root Solutions, Grand Chief Ed John recommended, “That MCFD, with the objective of maximizing its child safety recruitment, review the entry level qualifications for frontline workers to consider educational and experiential requirements for child safety positions.”
  • Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy’s mandate letter calls on her to “invest in child protection to hire additional social workers and staff to support social workers, and to implement incentives to attract social workers to rural and underserved regions” and to “work to implement the recommendations from Grand Chief Ed John’s report and provide better supports to keep Aboriginal children at home and out of care.”


Ministry of Children and Family Development
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-1639


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