June 05, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: British Columbia faces physiotherapy shortage

Vancouver, June 5 2018

The national shortage of physiotherapists announced in  The Conference Board of Canada’s recent report addressed a hard reality, highlighting the lack of services for seniors and the growing need by the public. The Physiotherapy Association of BC (PABC) is working to triple the number of physiotherapists across the province.

Currently all B.C training takes place at UBC with 80 physiotherapists graduating annually. PABC is advocating training options that could be expanded to educational institutes such as the University of Northern B.C. and directly in Health Authorities. The areas of present need for physiotherapy services within the public sector are hospitals, emergency wards and long-term care facilities and rural and remote areas in B.C.

“Presently, there are 300 new physiotherapists hired annually in British Columbia alone, with most of those positions being filled by internationally trained physiotherapists. That does not meet the ever-growing demand of physiotherapists, leaving large gaps in service throughout the province, particularly in the North, the Fraser Health Authority and Northern Vancouver Island.

The PABC is calling for a three-fold increase of training seats to 240 across the province. Every one of those graduate students would have a job walking out of that university. The goal is to increase the number of physiotherapists in British Columbia to ensure that patients get the care they need.” Christine Bradstock, CEO, PABC.

With the B.C. Ministry of Health’s recent announcement of team-based healthcare in the province through “Urgent Primary Care Centres”, changes to ICBC and the continued demand through WorkSafeBC, the growing demand for physiotherapists is even more evident. The goal of PABC is to help fill the needs of the patients in all communities across the province.

Strategies to increase the number of physiotherapists in BC:

  • Triple the number of physiotherapists trained in B.C.
  • Work with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Advanced Education, who identify physiotherapists as a Priority Profession, to grow the number across the province
  • increasing attention to recruitment in remote and rural areas

    Increased demand of physiotherapy:

  • Growing call for physiotherapy in integrated healthcare approach to reduce wait times for hip and knee replacements, increase the quality of life for and reduce fatal falls for seniors, treatment of arthritis, pediatrics and many other health care areas.
  • WorkSafeBC relies on physiotherapists to assist with recovery of people injured on the job.
  • Recent changes to ICBC will also call for an increased demand of physiotherapy.

Media Contact:

Jollean Willington
Office: 604.736.5130 x.5
Cell: 778.881.7792