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Spiritual care professional education opportunities

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Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

The spiritual care teaching program at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is fully accredited the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC). This type of training has been known for decades by the terms "Clinical Pastoral Education" (CPE) and "Supervised Pastoral Education (SPE)". We have been conducting both basic and advanced levels of CPE through our Spiritual Care and Multi-Faith Services department at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) for decades and were approved by CASC to add Richmond Hospital (RH) as a teaching site in 2019. Basic, Advanced and Supervisory levels of education are all being provided currently at both VGH and RH. Other teaching sites may start operating in hospitals under the VCH program in the future.

CPE is taught in an multi-faith context with and for persons from all faith traditions and walks of life. After completion of two basic units and one advanced unit, if one has a M.A. degree in Theological studies or equivalent one can become eligible to apply for positions in B.C. public health facilities to work as a Spiritual Care Practitioner. Theological schools may also require their students to take CPE units as part of their training to be a minister or denominational chaplain. Please see below under VST for more information.

Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and Richmond Hospital (RH) offer an extended unit of CPE with a schedule designed to meet the needs of students who are taking other coursework, working part time or in a flexible full time position. An extended unit would require 13 hours per week typically from the 2nd or 3rd week of September to the first week of April. We expect to run 2 groups, possibly 3, at VGH this year. Each group can have a maximum of 8 student interns.

  • VGH Group A: Tuesdays, Sept 13, 2022 to March 28, 2023 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. (with 30 minute break for dinner)

  • VGH Group B: Thursdays, Sept 15, 2022 to March 30, 2023 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (with 30 minute break for dinner)

  • The above group meeting times may be changed only if all students and the supervisor agree. A 3rd CPE group may be added if enrollment is particularly high in any given year.

Time slots for individual supervisory sessions and ward assignments will depend upon the schedule of each hospital ward as well as each student's availability. Students are expected to average 8 hours per week on the hospital wards, to be delivered on 2 separate 1/2 days each week between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday – Friday. This time is spent, providing bedside spiritual care and attending inter-professional team meetings. Average weekly commitment on site for all functions will normally total 13 hours. All advanced students and basic students who are deemed to have sufficient competencies may also provide a week of on call after-hour service. 

Students enrolled in Vancouver School of Theology intercession week are not required to be at the hospital for their clinical hours for the week of Jan VST Intensives but are expected to attend Tuesday group session. 

December holidays, will be observed so that there will be no group sessions for the week leading up to and following Christmas Day but students remaining in the city may elect to continue ward visitations as long as the supervisor is on site, in order to reach their 200 clinical hour requirement. 

The Tuesday group session continues to meet during VST reading weeks. 

During the first two weeks of class, there will be some additional group session times negotiated in addition to the regularly scheduled group times in order to prepare new students for the wards. 


The normal application deadline is July 10 but may be extended if the unit is not filled by that date. Application forms cannot be processed until after a screening interview is conducted by the Supervisors at either VGH or RH.

At Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and Richmond Hospital (RH), a spring/summer intensive unit is also offered most years. An intensive unit involves a commitment of 40 hours per week on site over the course of 12 weeks. 

The next summer unit will start on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 and end on July 15, 2022 at both hospitals with individual final in person evaluations done the following week. There are breaks only for statutory holidays. 

The content and design of the unit is the same as the fall/winter unit described above despite being condensed into a 12 week period of time. 


The normal application deadline is February 30, but may be extended. Credit for an intensive unit is the same as for an extended. For further information, or to make application, contact Silvia, the Administrative Assistant listed below or one of the CPE supervisors. Application forms cannot be processed until after a screening interview is conducted by the supervisors at VGH and RH.


For more information, contact one of the following people:

Silvia Delgado
Admin Assistant for Spiritual Care
Phone: 604-875-4111 Ext. 68875

Doug Longstaffe
Profession Leader & CPE Supervisor
Vancouver General Hospital
Phone: 604-875-4643

Matthew Heyn
CPE Supervisor at Richmond Hospital
Phone: 604-244-5506

Post CPE Residency

Subsequent to completing all CPE units students may apply for a residency that includes a stipend. This may be formatted as one full-time position or two half-time positions. The prospective student completes the residency at VGH through directed studies in an area of specialization in conjunction with the Vancouver School of Theology and the VGH Teaching Supervisor. Residencies are renewable up to two years. A post-graduate diploma may be incorporated. Learn more about the Spiritual Care Residency.

Vancouver School of Theology (VST)

We have partnered with VST, so that students are able to take a Master's degree in Public and Pastoral Leadership (PPL) in Spiritual Care with CPE units as a part of it. The Spiritual Care stream of this degree was designed to meet the certification requirements of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care as well as the Province of British Columbia's Framework for Spiritual Care Practitioners. Learn more about VST's PPL in Spiritual Care Graduate degree program.

Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC)

The BC Ministry of Health requires all Spiritual Care Practitioners, to have achieved the equivalent of 2 basic units and one advanced unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. In Canada this training is provided by supervisors certified by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC). CASC is a national organization, committed to the professional education, certification and support of persons providing spiritual care, pastoral counselling, education and research. It welcomes persons of all faith traditions. It provides educational programs for persons who are preparing to become professional providers of Spiritual Care and Pastoral counselling in a variety of institutional and community settings such as health care, corrections, education and private practice. It also welcomes ministers, priests and faith leaders of all traditions who may simply wish to take a unit of CPE to augment their professional work as clergy. Learn more on the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care website.

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