People who work in the addictions and substance abuse field face unique challenges, both personal and professional. They are expected to provide timely and effective services to clients in a demanding environment, where ongoing problems with staff recruitment, retention and burn-out are common.
While more than 50 substance abuse or addictions programs are delivered at Canadian colleges and universities, these graduates are the minority in the addictions workforce. The substance abuse workforce also has no means of self-regulation, although individual certification and organizational accreditation do help increase the consistency and quality of prevention and treatment services in Canada.
Meeting the needs of the Canadian workforce
Canada needs a more consistent quality of service delivery from the substance abuse workforce. Sustaining workforce development was identified as a priority in theNational Framework for Action to Reduce the Harms Associated with Alcohol and Other Drugs and Substances in Canada.
Workforce development is a CCSA priority
CCSA in consultation with its National Advisory Group on Workforce Development (NAGWD) has produced an important series for the substance abuse field.
Competencies for Canada’s Substance Abuse Workforce is a practical collection of resources that supports professional development in the field. These Competencies place a strong focus on technical and behavioural skills.