Substantial Equivalence Assessment Information

Alberta Health, in collaboration with the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta which operates the Alberta HCA Directory, has agreed to the following policy changes to the Substantial Equivalence Assessment process for HCAs educated outside of Alberta and for Alberta nursing students. This policy will be in place until December 31, 2021.

As of January 1, 2022, individuals educated outside Alberta and Alberta Nursing students who are seeking work as HCAs in Alberta will be required to successfully complete the substantial equivalent assessment process and comply with all assessment requirements.

HCAs educated outside of Alberta

Individuals educated outside of Alberta that are seeking employment in Alberta as HCAs must begin the substantial equivalent assessment process prior to employment, which includes the following steps.

  1. Enrol on the Alberta HCA Directory.
  2. Submit a complete application on the Alberta HCA Directory for the Substantial Equivalence status.
  3. Pay the assessment fee in full.

Employer Portal

  • Employers may hire HCAs that are undergoing but have not yet completed the substantial equivalent assessment process.
  • Employers must verify through the employer portal that the HCA being hired is enrolled on the Alberta HCA Directory under the status Sub. Eq (Assessment) – In Progress (Unapproved).

Alberta Nursing students

  • Alberta Nursing students applying for the Substantial Equivalent status on the Directory are not required to complete the formal substantial equivalent assessment and pay the assessment fee.
  • This policy will be in place until December 31, 2021.

New changes to policy 4.2 of the Substantial Equivalence assessment policies

Applicants who have submitted incomplete applications (e.g., do not have their application documents submitted) within 12 months of receipt of their application will have their file closed and receive a refund of the assessment fee paid, less an administration fee.

Applicants whose applications are closed will no longer be eligible to work as Health Care Aides in Alberta under the status of Sub. Eq (Assessment) – In Progress (Unapproved).


If the substantial equivalent assessment does not deem the applicant as substantially equivalent, the employer may

  • release the HCA from employment (in adherence of Employment Standards and any other requirements),
  • have the HCA complete a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition assessment by a licensed Alberta post-secondary institution, or
  • Continue with the HCA’s employment as Deemed-Competent – In Progress. Click here for more information on the CAPS Assessment.

Under these conditions, the HCA has one year to complete either their education or the CAP assessment.

Substantial Equivalence Assessment Toolbox