Activity Assistant

4 Month Part-time Certificate Program (Blended Online and Face-to-Face)

This part-time program is designed to provide post-basic training for individuals with previous Health Care Assistant (HCA) training and experience (formerly Home Support/Resident Care Attendant HS/RCA). Graduates will be prepared to work as Activity Assistants in a variety of settings.

Members of the HEU, as defined by their criteria, may be eligible for funding towards the cost of the program tuition, through the FBA Education Fund.

Career Opportunities

The Activity Assistant Program provides students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary to plan and implement individual and group activities for older adults in intermediate and extended care facilities and community settings. The graduate is prepared to function under the direction of an appropriate health care professional and to work collaboratively with other team members, families and volunteers.

Program Content

Building on the HCA Program, students will explore the theory and skills necessary to work as an Activity Assistant. Students are introduced to activity as a part of life that influences, and is influenced by, health, age, interests, values, and environment.

The program consists of classroom instruction and practicum experience. Topics include:

  • Framework for the Activity Assistant role
  • Activity for well-being
  • Programming ideas for clients with cognitive impairment
  • Practicum

Course Delivery

Courses are offered on a part-time basis. The theory components are typically scheduled on a weeknight and Saturdays. The observational practicum (40 hours) and full practicum (90 hours) are scheduled to reflect the requirements of the practicum site and student and may require part-time and/or full-time availability.

The next program will be delivered in a blended format with face-to-face practicums. Efforts will be made to hold practicum placements in your home community wherever possible.

The 2022-2023 program will be held online on Thursday evenings and face-to-face at the Nanaimo Campus on Saturdays. All practicums will be face-to-face.

Admission Requirements

  • Current Health Care Assistant/Home Support/Resident Care Attendant (HCA/HS/ RCA) Program Certificate from an approved post-secondary institution, or equivalent standing through prior learning assessment.
  • Proof of employment as an HCA/HS/RCA within the last 4 years
  • Physically able to perform the role. 
  • A satisfactory Criminal Record Check. 
    • Criminal Record Check for working with children and / or vulnerable adults must be requested through VIU; a check through RCMP is not sufficient to meet the requirement. A form will be sent to you for completion. 

This program is part-time and may be eligible for student loans.

Notes on Admission

Proof of successful completion of the following is required in order to participate in the practicum.  It is strongly recommended you complete as much as you can before the start of the program.  Please provide this documentation to the Program Assistant on the first day of class. It is the responsibility of students to ensure that they have the correct credentials. 

  • Current certification in CPR Level "C" (Please note:  Occupational First Aid and Emergency First Aid are not acceptable alternatives.)
  • Foodsafe Level 1 Certificate
  • Immunizations (Hepatitis B, MMR, Flu, Negative TB screen, Tetanus & Diphtheria, Polio, Chickenpox (Varicella), Flu Vaccine, and other immunizations as set out by the Island Health Authority). See Immunization Requirements
  • HSPnet Consent - download form here: HSPnet Student Consent form. Please note students who have a previous relationship with Island Health (i.e., an Island Health email address) must let us know. 
  • A satisfactory Criminal Record Check. 
    • Criminal Record Check for working with children and / or vulnerable adults must be requested through VIU; a check through RCMP is not sufficient to meet the requirement. A form will be sent to you for completion.

2022-2023 Important Dates*



Applications Open 

February 1, 2022

Information Session 

Please contact us at with any specific questions, and we will be happy to respond. See Information Session details below. 

Applications Close**

June 15, 2022

Proof of Admission Requirements - Document Deadline

June 30, 2022

Non-refundable $200 Tuition Deposit Due

Within 3 weeks of admission offer

Balance of Tuition Due

August 19, 2022

Last Day to Withdraw (no refunds will be issued after this date). NOTE: Professional Development and Training refund deadlines are earlier than standard academic program deadlines. 

August 19, 2022

Program Start

September 22, 2022

Program End

January 28, 2023

* Dates are subject to change

** Late applications may be accepted if there is still room in the program 

2022-2023 Program Fees

All Tuition and Fees are subject to final approvals

  • Program Tuition: ~ $2,765.00
  • Student Union Fees: ~$120
  • Student Activity Fees: ~ $225 
  • Graduation Fee: $55.18
  • Criminal Record Check Fee: $43.85
  • Textbooks:  Approximately $250.00

$350-$1000 bursaries are available each academic year for HEU members, their children, stepchildren and legal guardians, and spouses, including common-law and same-sex partners.

For further information, see HEU Bursaries 

Useful Links

Program Contact

Deirdre Godwin, Program Assistant

Professional Development & Training (H&HS)


How to Apply

Apply Online or use a paper application for admission.  An application fee is required.

Information Session

Attend an information session via Zoom on Thursday, March 24, 2022, starting at 6:30 pm. Details here:

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Password: 625467
Meeting ID: 667 6434 0403

Or join by telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
        Canada: +1 778 907 2071  or +1 204 272 7920  or +1 438 809 7799  or +1 587 328 1099  or +1 647 374 4685  or +1 647 558 0588
    Password: 625467

International numbers available:

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