Canadian cancer workforce scoping study

Review this study to get an informative snapshot of a human resources strategy for cancer control

The Partnership worked with the Canadian Association of Provincial Cancer Agencies (CAPCA) to create this study, published in 2010. It was the first of its kind in Canada, and its purpose was to:

  • Map out the trends and challenges of the cancer control workforce
  • Provide information and recommendations that will lead to developing a human-resources strategy for cancer control

The recently refreshed 2019 to 2029 Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control calls for ways to provide innovative models of care, including virtual care, by focusing on access, equity and sustainability. This workforce planning report from 2010 remains highly relevant because the same challenges still exist today.

Findings on workforce planning

The study presents the following conclusions:

  • Cancer workforce planning is fragmented.
  • Canadian research about health human resources is limited.
  • There is no pan-Canadian approach; each jurisidiction plans in isolation.
  • There are many stakeholders in highly specialized occupations, making it extremely difficult to effectively manage supply and demand within each provincial health-care system.

Eight recommendations

The study also presents the following eight recommendations:

  1. Co-ordinate one approach to cancer workforce planning for all of Canada.
  2. Develop a strategic action plan for the cancer workforce.
  3. Forge networks to promote collaboration between stakeholder groups to enhance workforce planning. Start with a forum for exchanging knowledge and information along with a network to build research capacity.
  4. Develop and implement strategies to recruit and retain health-care providers in cancer control.
  5. Develop program implementation models and workforce planning standards and guidelines that ensure care is appropriately and safely delivered.
  6. Document leading practices to show the effectiveness of innovative approaches to care. Also, provide working models to show how they may be integrated effectively into the cancer-control system, recognizing that a centre’s size may affect its needs.
  7. Develop better work processes through process mapping to optimize competencies and make sure all resources are used effectively, including technology, for delivering care and ensuring smooth workflows.
  8. Assess the effectiveness of inter-professional teams in providing patient-centred care and determine the enablers and barriers to their effective implementation.

Downloadable content