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Employment Opportunities

Wood’s Homes began as an orphanage in 1914. The organization is a non-profit, nationally accredited children’s mental health centre. Today we have over 450 employees and provide more than 40 programs in Calgary, Lethbridge, Canmore, Strathmore, Fort McMurray and Fort Smith, N.W.T.

Commitment to high-risk adolescents, challenged with some very tough issues, is not easy and the reality is that most problems surface after hours. These are the times when our frontline workers spring into action. Work hours at Wood’s Homes are typically round-the-clock and the type of work we do requires quick thinking, confidence, forgiveness and persistence. Because of the complexity of our work, Wood's Homes prefers to hire individuals with degrees or diplomas and professional affiliations.

Wood's Homes was named one of the Top 100 Best Workplaces in Canada 2011 and 2012!


What's it like working with Wood's Homes?

We Never Say No. We Never Give up. We Never Turn Anyone Away.

That is our powerful mantra made all the more compelling by the fact that sometimes it is very hard to commit to. This is because the children, young people and families that come to our many doors are in trouble and sometimes that trouble is very, very serious. Most of the time the answer is not easy; sometimes it feels like very little, if any, progress is being made.

Children in trouble are afraid and they lash out in all directions and behave in ways that are confusing and upsetting. Parents of these children are afraid too, and they sometimes show this by being angry and resistant when they do not mean to be. Our job is to offer help and hope. This requires all of us to be non-judgmental, calm in a crisis, knowledgeable, curious and hopeful, creative and clear in your expectations, humble in the face of problems you may never have to face. It is a tall order.


Why we do what we do?

Our ultimate goal at Wood’s Homes is to become the best treatment services organization in Canada a children’s mental health centre par excellence. We want to be the first place people think to call when they have a problem, big or small.

We are slowly but surely gathering evidence about the good work we do and we are more able to prove its worth than ever before. We are sought after for new and innovative ideas and people continue to refer children to us who are deemed “impossible.” Nothing like a challenge like that!

We can only do all of this with experienced, well-trained and educated professionals like you! Ones who have energy and enthusiasm to burn and who are not overwhelmed by challenges, not defensive in the face of criticism or anger and focused on success. Ones who want to make a difference in the lives of others and are eager to learn how to do that! Our children need you!


What does a “duty of care” mean for employees of Wood’s Homes?

Duty of care is the responsibility or duty to take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions that could expose people, for whom there is a responsibility, to a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury.

Duty of Care is defined simply as a legal obligation to: always act in the best interest of individuals and others; not act or fail to act in a way that results in harm; act within your competence and not take on anything you do not believe you can safely do.

Each person has a duty to ensure their action, or failure to take action, does not harm others. This needs to be reinforced for everyone wanting to work at Wood’s Homes. It is part of the occupational health and safety responsibilities and obligations for employers and employees.


What does the work involve?

Shift Work:
Having children in our care is a 24 hour-per-day, 7 day-a-week commitment. You should expect to work shifts, including nights, evenings, weekends and holidays.

Exposure to Trauma, disturbing events, violence:
Children and adults who come to the doors of Wood’s Homes come with past experiences of trauma, abuse, abandonment, neglect, domestic violence, etc. They often come with disabilities that hamper good thinking processes and an inability to regulate their emotions as well. You will experience the pain and upset these clients feel and it will often be scary. Threats, spitting, hitting, damaging property, swearing, running away, lashing out are only a few examples of how these feelings are manifested. It is the job of all employees to understand that this is not workplace violence it is pain being expressed by seriously troubled children. It is our job to accept it, listen to it, protect it and manage these behaviours and the feelings beneath them with respect, kindness, forgiveness and safety for both yourself and the client.

Are you fully aware of how these behaviours are manifested and are you open to understanding their deeper meaning?


How do you prepare for this career?

Wood’s Homes offers training for all staff in a wide variety of ways to handle disruptive and aggressive behaviours. We also expect that you are coming to this position with some practical and theoretical knowledge and skill that we expect you to use well. One must remember that when feelings are expressed with or toward you that it is not about you it is about the client. Do you feel you are able to maintain a therapeutic stance in all situations, ask for help when you are unsure and be aware of your own actions and reactions when faced with perceived anger or danger?


Do you feel prepared for this challenge and this responsibility?

You are eager to work at Wood’s Homes with children and families in some capacity. We are happy to hear this. Along with the above need to fully embrace a duty of care for our clients, it is important to understand that your therapeutic role is very important. You are a treatment specialist in some way not a babysitter or a disciplinarian. As such, you will be called upon every day to use the knowledge and skills you already have and now bring to your position to benefit and understand the challenges of all clients who come to the doors of this children’s mental health centre.

Do you feel prepared for this challenge and this responsibility?
This job demands more curiosity, and less control. What our clients do and say are keys to their future mental health and it is our job to encourage the expression of both their experience and their emotions. When a client feels safe with a staff member, often he or she will have to bear the brunt of many an outburst. This is uncomfortable and confusing most of the time. But curiosity is key as well as being able to stand back and realize that your feelings are insignificant it is the unknown for the client that is key.

Can you be curious?
The time for you to understand your own reactions to clients and learn about what their behaviours mean is in supervision. The way to get the most out of this process is to be open to not knowing, asking for advice, taking a few calculated chances, making mistakes and taking responsibility for oneself when things do not work out.

How would you rate yourself in these areas?


What are the salary and benefits?

The majority of our employees are represented by a union CUPE, Local 4731. The pay ranges for all of these positions are identified in each of our Career Profiles.

Our group benefit carrier is Sun Life Financial. Wood’s Homes offers a comprehensive benefits package for union employees which includes health and dental coverage, vision care, insurances (life, accidental death and dismemberment and short- and long-term disability), and an Employee & Family Assistance Plan.

Vacation for all union employees begins at 3 weeks per year!

Wood’s Homes has a number of other enhanced benefits for its employees such as a Computer Literacy Program, a Christmas/New Year’s floater day, special leave (as defined in the collective agreement), and a number of in-house training and professional development.


What are the educational requirements?

Wood’s Homes is accredited every three years through Accreditation Canada as well as licensed under Child & Family Services (Region 3) with requirements to ensure that employee professional requirements are current.

As such, the majority of Wood’s Homes employees are professionals, and are required to have completed a recognized post-secondary education. These requirements can be viewed in each Career Profile.

Wood’s Homes is also recognized as an Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program and is able to offer training, seminars and workshops for credit. In addition to these ACE program opportunities, Wood’s Homes has a number of employees who are certified in-house trainers who provide core training programs such as Suicide Intervention, Medications/Universal Precautions and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Training.


Employees working for Wood’s Homes are required to provide the following:

  • Current Criminal Record Check (no older than 6 month) with the Vulnerable Sector Search [CPIC]
  • Child Welfare Information Check (no older than 6 months) [Intervention Check]
  • Drivers Abstract (No more than 6 demerits)
  • Standard First Aid Level C Current Certification
  • Copies of Educational Diplomas/Degrees
  • Copies of registration with professional body (i.e. Chartered Psychologist, registered Social Worker, Nursing)
  • Copy of all Relevant Training (Suicide Intervention Training, Safe restraints)


Wood's Homes is both a learning and teaching organization committed to encouraging students to learn from us as much as we can learn from them.

Learn more about practicum placements at Wood's Homes.

For further information, please contact our Human Resources Department at 403-270-1706 or email human.resources@woodshomes.ca.

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