Each fall, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services holds province-wide public consultations on the upcoming provincial budget for BC. Communication Matters, An SLP Advocacy Group for Young Children in BC, will be asking for the following. If you are also concerned about speech-language services for the preschool-aged population in BC, then feel free to use this Ask as well.
Communication Matters’ 2018 Ask for the 2019 Budget
The number of preschool-aged children in BC who require speech-language pathology (SLP) support is approximately 23,0001 – and Therapy BC recommends that a therapist carries a caseload of 25-40 clients.2 Assuming we use the higher caseload size (40 children), this indicates that at least 575 full-time SLPs are needed to work with this population in British Columbia (BC).
The Speech and Hearing BC Early Intervention SLP Director is working with Senior SLPs across the province to determine the exact number of SLP full-time equivalents (FTEs) currently serving this population within the public sector. Although we do not yet have this exact figure, we are confident that it is less than 200 FTEs.
Therefore, there is an immediate need for an additional 375 full-time speech-language pathologists for the preschool-aged population in BC. If the current funding system is followed, these positions would be funded through the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Taking the base starting wage of approximately $90,000 per year ($64,296 per year3 – plus benefits), this means there is an immediate need for at least $33,750,000.00 to be specifically designated for SLP services for preschool-aged children in BC to address the current gaps in service.
In summary, we are asking the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services to recommend that the BC Budget 2019 allocates 33.75 million dollars so preschool-aged children in our province have access to the speech-language pathology services they need in order to build a strong communication foundation for all their future learning.
Correction: An earlier version of this post used the base starting wage from an earlier year in the collective agreement.
1. Data Source: Demography Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa. Prepared and presented by: BC Stats, BC Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/data/statistics/people-population-community/population/population-estimates.
2. Therapy BC. Promoting Manageable Workloads Project Phase 2 – Preferred Practice Guidelines for BC Paediatric Therapists (2008). Retrieved from http://www.therapybc.ca/pdf/PreferredPracticeGuidelines.pdf.
3. Health Science Professionals Provincial Agreement 2014-2019 Wage Schedules. Effective First Pay
Period after February 1, 2018. Retrieved from