2022 Edition

Group Living Services (CA-GLS) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of residents and their families.


Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience, including lived experience when applicable. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.




Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,  
  • With some exceptions, staff (direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers) possess the required qualifications, including education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc., but the integrity of the service is not compromised; or
  • Supervisors provide additional support and oversight, as needed, to the few staff without the listed qualifications; or 
  • Most staff who do not meet educational requirements are seeking to obtain them; or 
  • With few exceptions, staff have received required training, including applicable specialized training; or
  • Training curricula are not fully developed or lack depth; or
  • Training documentation is consistently maintained and kept up-to-date with some exceptions; or
  • A substantial number of supervisors meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization provides training and/or consultation to improve competencies when needed; or
  • With few exceptions, caseload sizes are consistently maintained as required by the standards or as required by internal policy when caseload has not been set by a standard; or
  • Workloads are such that staff can effectively accomplish their assigned tasks and provide quality services and are adjusted as necessary; or
  • Specialized services are obtained as required by the standards.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • A significant number of staff (direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers) do not possess the required qualifications, including education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc.; and as a result, the integrity of the service may be compromised; or
  • Job descriptions typically do not reflect the requirements of the standards, and/or hiring practices do not document efforts to hire staff with required qualifications when vacancies occur; or 
  • Supervisors do not typically provide additional support and oversight to staff without the listed qualifications; or
  • A significant number of staff have not received required training, including applicable specialized training; or
  • Training documentation is poorly maintained; or
  • A significant number of supervisors do not meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization makes little effort to provide training and/or consultation to improve competencies; or
  • There are numerous instances where caseload sizes exceed the standards' requirements or the requirements of internal policy when a caseload size is not set by the standard; or
  • Workloads are excessive, and the integrity of the service may be compromised; or 
  • Specialized staff are typically not retained as required and/or many do not possess the required qualifications; or
  • Specialized services are infrequently obtained as required by the standards.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • List of program personnel that includes:
    • Title
    • Name
    • Employee, volunteer, or independent contractor
    • Degree or other qualifications
    • Time in current position
  • See organizational chart submitted during application
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Procedures or other documentation relevant to continuity of care and case assignment
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Training curricula
  • Documentation tracking training and/or certification for peer support providers, as applicable
  • Caseload size requirements set by policy, regulation, or contract, when applicable
  • Documentation of current caseload size per worker
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files


CA-GLS 2.01

Residential counsellors, support providers, house parents or house managers, adult care, and/or youth care workers have:

  1. a diploma or degree or are actively, continuously pursuing a diploma or degree;
  2. the personal characteristics and experience to collaborate with and provide appropriate support to residents and their families, gain their respect, guide their development, manage a home effectively, and participate in the overall treatment program; and
  3. the temperament to work with, and care for, children, youth, adults, or families with special needs, as appropriate.


The elements of the standard will be considered together to assess implementation. Recruitment of staff with demonstrated competence and with appropriate supervision and specialized training – sometimes available through national certification programs – can compensate for a lack of a diploma or degree.


Experience per element (b) can include lived experience when residential programs have peer support specialists, peer support providers, peer navigators, recovery support specialists, youth advocates, mentors, and/or family advocates on staff.


CA-GLS 2.02

Supervisors of direct service personnel are qualified by: 
  1. an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field and two years of relevant experience; or
  2. a bachelor’s degree in social work or a comparable human service field and four or more years of relevant experience.

Fundamental Practice

CA-GLS 2.03

A physician or other qualified medical practitioner familiar with the needs of the resident population assumes 24-hour on-call medical oversight to ensure that residents’ health needs are identified and promptly addressed.


The physician can provide services as an employee, contractor, or through another formal arrangement. There may be more than one physician fulfilling the role.


COA recognizes that geographic placement and resources can pose barriers. The use of an emergency room or urgent care facility is acceptable for overnight hours when protocols are established. Organizations can also leverage alternative service delivery methods such as telehealth when regional shortages of certain professional groups make in-person consultation impractical.

NA All residents have private physicians.


CA-GLS 2.04

Qualified professionals and specialists are available to provide services and support depending on the program model, population served, and specialized care needs.
Examples: Examples of services and providers that may be on staff, or available through a formal arrangement, include:
  1. mental health; 
  2. substance use;
  3. crisis intervention;
  4. medicine and dentistry;
  5. psychological services, such as testing and evaluation;
  6. prenatal and postnatal care, and the developmental needs of children;
  7. prenatal and postpartum depression screenings and care;
  8. nursing;
  9. education and vocational skill development;
  10. physical and developmental disabilities;
  11. speech, occupational and physical therapy;
  12. recreation and expressive therapy;
  13. nutrition; and/or
  14. religion and spirituality.

Examples: Examples of populations with specialized care needs include, but are not limited to: 
  1. older adults; 
  2. children and youth with pervasive developmental disorders; 
  3. children and youth who engage in fire setting; 
  4. individuals who exhibit sexually reactive behaviour; 
  5. victims of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse; 
  6. LGBTQ population, especially those with gender identity issues; 
  7. individuals with eating disorders; and 
  8. individuals who have trouble communicating or being understood without special assistance.


CA-GLS 2.05

Personnel who provide peer support:

  1. obtain certification, when available; 
  2. are willing to share their personal recovery stories; 
  3. have a job description and clearly understand the role of peer support worker; and
  4. have adequate support and appropriate supervision, including mentoring and/or coaching from more experienced peers when indicated.

NA The organization does not provide peer support services.


CA-GLS 2.06

Personnel who provide peer support are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:  

  1. how to recognize the need for more intensive services and make an appropriate linkage;
  2. established ethical guidelines, including setting appropriate boundaries and protecting confidentiality and privacy; 
  3. wellness support methods, trauma-informed care practices, and recovery resources;
  4. managing personal triggers that may occur during the course of their role as a peer support provider; and
  5. skills, concepts, and philosophies related to recovery and peer support.

NA The organization does not provide peer support services.

Fundamental Practice

CA-GLS 2.07

There is at least one person on duty at each program site any time the program is in operation that has received first aid and age-appropriate CPR training in the previous two years that included an in-person, hands-on CPR skills assessment conducted by a certified CPR instructor.


CA-GLS 2.08

All direct service personnel are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. understanding the definitions of human trafficking (both labour and sex trafficking) and sexual exploitation, and identifying potential victims;
  2. procedures for responding to residents who run away;
  3. interventions for addressing the acute needs of victims of trauma; and
  4. collaborating with local law enforcement.


CA-GLS 2.09

Recovery housing personnel are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:

  1. medication assisted recovery and applicable policies and procedures;
  2. how to identify and report unethical practices including patient brokering or excessive confirmation testing; and
  3. emphasizing peer support and experiential learning in recovery.
Related Standards:

NA The organization does not provide recovery housing.


CA-GLS 2.10

The organization minimizes the number of workers assigned to persons served over the course of their contact with the organization by:

  1. assigning a worker at intake or early in the contact; and
  2. avoiding the arbitrary or indiscriminate reassignment of direct service personnel.


CA-GLS 2.11

Caseloads support the achievement of resident outcomes, are regularly reviewed, and generally do not exceed 15 residents.

Examples: Factors that may be considered when determining caseloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker, including the level of supervision needed; 
  2. the needs of the population served;
  3. special circumstances, such as multi-need residents;
  4. the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities; and
  5. service volume.