Alberta’s government is investing $12.8 million to create new bursaries to assist students with education costs and encourage them to become HCAs.  

“Health-care aides in continuing care settings are in high demand throughout Alberta, especially in rural areas. These bursaries will remove barriers to students, paying for schooling and other expenses while they are completing their certification program, and ultimately improve the supply of staff and the level of care Albertans receive across the province.” 

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

The HCA Education Funding program includes three streams of funding: the Financial Incentive program, the HCA Tuition Bursary program and the Workplace Tutor program.

Students who were enrolled in a licensed HCA program between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2022, are eligible for up to $4,000 through the Financial Incentive program if they agree to work a minimum of 1,000 hours with an identified continuing care operator within one year of starting employment. The amount of funding depends on the geographic location of their continuing care operator.  

Eligible HCA students may receive up to $9,000 through the HCA Tuition Bursary program. Students must be enrolled in a licensed HCA program beginning after July 1, 2022. Preference will be given to students who are attending school full time or are already working for a continuing care operator. 

The Workplace Tutor program provides funding for identified continuing care operators to educate HCAs at their workplace. Students may work as HCAs as they complete the program. Employers must have a regulated nurse to teach students in the lab and supervise formal clinical courses. Operators are eligible to receive up to $9,400 per tutor.  

“We are very pleased to see the HCA bursary program implemented, as health-care aides are important and valuable members of our teams. The program will most certainly help attract those with a passion for health care to a role that is crucial to the delivery of quality care for patients in many health-care settings. Working with our educational partners, our goal is to develop talent in areas that keeps health care close to home for all Albertans.” 

Sean Chilton, vice-president, People, Health Professions and Information Technology, Alberta Health Services

“Health-care aides perform a vital function at the front lines delivering the services Albertans count on. This robust investment will open up opportunities for students exploring new careers as health-care aides. NorQuest is eager to continue meeting the need for health-care professionals through this exciting partnership between the province’s post-secondary and health-care systems.” 

Jennifer Mah, dean, faculty of health studies, NorQuest College

Quick facts 

  • HCAs provide direct client care, providing basic health services and assistance with daily living to people with medical conditions or major functional limitations. They are the single largest workforce in continuing care.
  • The HCA Education Funding program administrator is NorQuest College. The college will review and approve applications that meet the criteria. Applicants do not need to attend NorQuest College to be eligible for bursary funding. To apply, visit the NorQuest bursary website
  • There is no deadline for applying. Funding will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis if eligibility criteria is met and required documentation is submitted. Funding will be disbursed to eligible students until it is exhausted.
  • Financial Incentive program eligibility: 
    • Students must have been enrolled in an Alberta licensed HCA program between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2022. 
    • Students must have received a HCA certificate from a licensed post-secondary institution, including those who completed the program after June 30.
    • Students must have started working with an identified continuing care operator within two months of receiving their HCA certificate. 
  • Tuition Bursary program eligibility:
    • Students must sign a return of service agreement to work a minimum of 1,000 hours within one year, or 2,000 hours in two years, with an identified continuing care operator within two years of starting employment.
    • Students must start employment as a HCA for an identified continuing care operator within two months of successfully completing the HCA program.
    • Full-time, part-time and workplace program students are eligible.
  • Workplace Tutor program eligibility:
    • The employer must be on the identified continuing care operator list. 
    • The continuing care operator must have a contract with either NorQuest College or Northern Lakes College to deliver a workplace program.
    • The continuing care operator must have a minimum of three students enrolled in the HCA program to be eligible for the Workplace Tutor program. If an operator doesn’t have the minimum number of students, they could partner with another operator to reach the minimum number.