What You Need to Know About the Home Care Industry in British Columbia and Why We are “UNIQUE”

Unregulated Industry

The most common misconception about the private home care industry in British Columbia is that the industry is government regulated and licensed. There is the assumption private agencies must abide by strict hiring policies, accreditations and carry comprehensive liability insurance coverage.

Unfortunately and surprisingly these are myths. In BC, the private home care industry is not government regulated. There are no licensing requirements to operate a private home care agency. Care aides are not required to be certified or criminal background checked. There are no liability insurance requirements.

In BC, an individual, company or franchise can operate a home care agency. It is legal to hire unqualified and uncertified care aides with no criminal background checks required. Foreign workers are often hired. Unqualified care aides are permitted into private homes to legally administer all forms of critical care. Liability insurance is discretionary.

A care aide is often assumed to be an accredited professional. A care aide is a generic term for one who assists with the care of another individual – it is not a certification. A care aide may or may not be certified.

Unique maintains the highest standard of practices and policies. Only Canadian accredited certifications are accepted. We do not hire foreign workers. Our care aides are thoroughly screened and have criminal background checks. All care aides are experienced and professional. We provide WCB and comprehensive liability insurance coverage.


Most private home care agencies in BC are corporate chains or franchises with high operating expenses and franchise fees, which are passed onto the client. Rate mark-ups are commonly 150% and more. Home care rates are not controlled in BC.

Unique is a private, independent agency with low overhead expenses. As an independent, our rates are flexible allowing us to consistently charge the lowest rates in BC.


The industry is known for paying care aides low hourly rates – minimum wage, rarely more. To keep wages low, inexperienced and foreign workers are often employed. Low wages result in high staff turn-over contributing to overall poor quality and inconsistent home health care.

Unique’s fair wage policy pays the highest hourly rate (exceeds BCGEU) in the private home care sector in BC. All care aides must be experienced and knowledgeable. We do not hire foreign workers. Only Canadian accreditations are accepted.
Our fair wage and hiring policies benefit both the client and our company. The client is assured of the integrity, experience and work-quality of their care aide, as well as the knowledge they are being fairly reimbursed for their valuable service.

For Unique the benefits are substantial. Our reputation of low staff turn-over and fair wage policy gives us the advantage of hiring exceptional care providers. Care aides, in turn, are loyal, committed and provide the highest standard of care. Unique is very proud many of our providers have been with us from inception.

Inconsistent Care Aides

Private home care agencies commonly rotate care aides, resulting in inconsistent care quality, miscommunication, confusion and frustration.

Unique prevents the problems rotation causes by always providing our clients with a designated, consistent care aide.


To promote and advertise their business, agencies require care aides to wear company uniforms and logo name tags. Clients often perceive a person in a uniform as an authority figure who will take over control of their lives. Care company advertised-vehicles are viewed as an invasion of the client’s privacy and dignity.

Unique does not use our care aides or vehicles for promotional purposes. We maintain a no-uniform/name tag and advertising-free vehicles policy. This policy is exceptionally very well received by clients. At home or out in public, our presence is not seen as a “hired care worker” but as a “caring friend." Our client’s dignity and privacy is the priority, not self- advertising.

Scope of Care

Agencies often have restrictive guidelines regarding the limitations of the scope of care and services they can actually provide. Many agencies also disallow pet care.

Unique provides comprehensive, full-scope care. We are qualified to provide every aspect of nursing and support services. We also provide ground/home maintenance. Of course we care for our client’s pets. Pets are a vital and integral part of the client’s life and wellbeing. All care plans are designed specifically on an individual and flexible basis.


In BC, live-In care services are generally provided through live-In agencies bringing in foreign workers. The process can take a year or more. The client is responsible for all travel expenses incurred to obtain the live-in. The agencies also charge the client a “finder’s fee”. Once the client signs an agreement, the agency accepts no further responsibility for the live-in. The client is no longer a client but is now the “employer” and the live-in is the “employee”. As the employer, you are legally responsible for WCB coverage, vacation pay, health insurance and other expenses. You are also responsible for time off, sick/vacation coverage. If the live-in does not work out or chooses to leave – no recourse, refund or action can be taken against the agency.

Unique provides a reputable Live-In service. We do not hire foreign workers. All our live-ins are local. They must meet the same hiring standards as our regular care aides. Live-ins are the complete responsibility of Unique. We are responsible for replacement coverage of sick leave and vacations. Statistics and studies consistently prove keeping a person in their familiar home environment maintains a greater chance for a longer, happier, healthier life over private facility or government institutional placement. Before making the often painful decision of placing a loved one, consider the benefits and affordability of Unique’s Live-In service. This service is a very reasonable $3,900 a month, the equivalent of 4 hours daily of home care charged by private agencies. In contrast, a private facility can often charge between $5,000 -$10,000 per month. Our Live-In service is a viable alternative to a high-cost private facility or an undesirable government institution placement. Your loved one deserves the opportunity to remain at home.

What Care Options Do I Have More Questions? Better Business Bureau VAC Approved Provider Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce



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