Ontario Recruiting More Personal Support Workers into Long-Term Care and Home Care

In Provincial

New incentives will help attract thousands of PSW students and recent graduates to connect people to care

The Ontario government is investing more than $300 million over three years to help thousands of people launch careers as personal support workers in long-term care homes and in the home and community care sector. Recruiting more personal support workers is part of the province’s Your Health plan to connect long-term care residents to more hours of direct care and expand home care services.

“Our government is fixing long-term care by training, hiring and retaining thousands of people to provide high quality care for residents,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care. “These incentives will help people launch rewarding careers, increase the hours of direct care our residents connect to, and support the staffing needs of rural, remote and northern long-term care homes.”

“Personal support workers play a critical role in helping people in Ontario connect to the care they need in the comfort of their own home and in their local community,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Bolstering our number of personal support workers in the home care sector allows us to increase people’s access to in-home services which prevents unnecessary hospital and long-term care admissions, shortens hospital stays and provides people with the choice to stay in their own home longer.”

Ontario is now offering new incentives of up to $25,400 to students and recent graduates of personal support worker education programs, including:

  • Up to $5,400 to students while they complete their clinical placement in long-term care or home and community care;
  • $10,000 for current students and recent graduates who commit to working in a long-term care home or with a home and community care service provider for 12 months; and
  • $10,000 to help with relocation costs to graduates who commit to working in a long-term care home or with a home and community care service provider in a rural, remote or northern community for 12 months.

These incentives are retroactive to April 1, 2023 for students who recently completed their clinical placements and personal support workers who started working in long-term care or home and community care. Students who started a district school board personal support worker program on or after April 1, 2023 will also have their student fees waived or reimbursed.

For information on becoming a personal support worker and how to take advantage of the government incentives, visit: ontario.ca/gopsw.

Ontario is continuing to increase the amount of direct care provided to long-term care home residents to ensure residents receive four hours of direct care per day by 2025, and more personal support workers are needed to meet this goal. Direct care is hands-on care that includes help with dining, bathing and dressing, as well as other important tasks such as helping residents move and providing medication.

Ontario is also expanding the delivery of home and community care services to help more people connect to the care they need in the comfort of their own home. The home and community care sector provides care to an estimated 1.3 million people and their families, including more caregiver supports and respite services, bereavement and behavioural programs to assisted living services for people with brain injuries.

Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care focuses on providing people with a better health care experience by connecting them to more convenient options closer to home while shortening wait times for key services across the province and growing the health care workforce for years to come.

Quick Facts

  • Find a local job fair to learn about rewarding career opportunities in the personal support worker profession.
  • The Ontario government is also increasing direct care for long-term care residents by investing $16.5 million in a program that will train up to 600 people to become personal support workers. The province is funding the Learn and Earn Accelerated Program for Personal Support Workers in Long-Term Care (LEAP LTC) — an online, accelerated program that trains existing long-term care staff, such as resident attendants and dietary aides, to become personal support workers. Graduates of this program who make a commitment to work in a home for one year are also eligible for the incentives.
  • The Ontario government is providing up to $1.25 billion this year to long-term care homes to hire and retain thousands more long-term care staff. This is part of the government’s historic four-year, $4.9 billion commitment to increase the provincewide average direct care time provided by registered nurses, registered practical nurses and personal support workers to four hours per resident, per day, by March 31, 2025.
  • Through a $6.4 billion investment, Ontario now has 31,705 new and 28,648 upgraded beds in development across the province. This will help increase overall bed capacity, address long-term care waitlists and hallway health care, and provide our seniors the care they deserve.
  • The government is investing $1 billion over three years to expand and improve home care services across the province and $100 million for community services. The 2023 Ontario Budget accelerated investments to bring home care funding in 2023-24 up to $569 million.

Quotes

“We are grateful to this government for its continued recognition of this vital profession. This commitment to recruit and retain personal support workers in long-term care homes and home and community care will undoubtedly address the long-standing staffing shortages in the province.”

– Miranda Ferrier
CEO, Ontario Personal Support Workers Association

“The Ontario Long Term Care Association thanks the Government of Ontario for continuing their significant support and investments to expand and enhance the long-term care workforce. Personal support workers are the primary providers of care to our residents and as the complexity of the care needs of our seniors increases, and the number of seniors in Ontario increases too, we must continue to invest in training our workforce. We welcome the innovative training models and accelerated programs the government has introduced, and we look forward to continuing to work with the government to scale these investments to train more personal support workers to meet the needs of our seniors, today and in the future.”

– Donna Duncan
CEO, Ontario Long Term Care Association

“We strongly support the provincial government’s significant investment in the training and retention of new personal support workers. Targeting this new initiative to long-term care and home care is especially needed and appreciated. We are particularly pleased that there is added support for rural and northern areas where staffing shortages have reached crisis levels in many communities. Taken together, we believe these measures will improve care for Ontario’s seniors.”

– Lisa Levin
CEO, AdvantAge

“George Brown College is proud of our world-class training for personal support workers, equipping students with critical skills and hands-on experience, and preparing them for the workforce through placements at long-term care facilities. We are pleased that the Government of Ontario is making critical investments to encourage more students to study and work as personal support workers, in long-term care settings and home care.”

– Dr. Gervan Fearon
President, George Brown College

“Personal support workers play a critical role in Ontario’s health care workforce. This new investment will provide students with more opportunity as they complete world-class training at our province’s postsecondary institutions and ultimately go on to offer Ontarians the care they deserve, no matter where they live.”

– Jill Dunlop
Minister of Colleges and Universities

“We are expanding hands-on learning across the curriculum so that students are better prepared with life and job skills that lead them to good-paying jobs. Personal support workers make a difference in the lives of their patients each and every day, and our government is removing barriers to make it easier for more students to pursue a career in this in-demand profession.”

– Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education

“Personal support workers are a key part Ontario’s home care sector, delivering critical health care services to hundreds of thousands of Ontarians every day in their homes. The investments announced today come at a time when they are most needed. Ontario’s seniors population is set to increase by 15 per cent over the next five years and our home care sector is in desperate need of more personal support services workers. This new funding will help to attract students towards a rewarding career in personal support work and it will help to improve both retention rates and consistency of care by reducing staff turnover. These investments will be especially impactful for rural and northern communities where care is often the hardest to deliver.”

– Sue VanderBent
CEO, Home Care Ontario

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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