The Ontario government is investing over $115 million to train up to 8,200 new personal support workers (PSWs) for high-demand jobs in Ontario’s health and long-term care sectors. In collaboration with Colleges Ontario, all 24 publicly assisted colleges will offer this innovative, fully funded program starting in April 2021. This is part of the government’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan, one of the largest PSW recruitment and training drives in the province’s history.
The new accelerated training program for personal support workers (PSWs) announced yesterday by the provincial government will produce a huge increase in the PSW training at Ontario’s colleges.
“This is a major step to help fill the demand for personal support workers in our community,” Ron Common, Sault College President “It’s an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in a new career in this field.”
The funding for an accelerated program will cover students’ tuition and other expenses and is expected to start as early as April 5th, allowing participants to graduate with full credentials within six months. The province is also offering tuition assistance to students who are close to finishing an existing PSW program at one of Ontario’s publicly-assisted colleges. Nearly 2,200 students will be eligible to receive a $2,000 tuition grant to help them complete their studies, as well as a stipend to complete the clinical placement part of their training.
In a press realease, Sault College stated that they will begin accepting applications in early March resulting in graduates expected by this fall.
“We are taking monumental steps to protect our most vulnerable and provide the highest quality of care when and where residents need it,” said Premier Ford. “We will achieve this by recruiting and training some of our best and brightest to be PSWs. This will improve the quality of life for our seniors and begin to correct the decades of neglect in this sector.”
Sault College states that the accelerated program will allow students to fulfill the program requirements more quickly by increasing the number of study hours per week. It will use a hybrid model that combines online learning with in-person practical experience. Students in the program will complete courses online and participate in laboratory classes available at the colleges and in care settings.
Students in the accelerated program will be available to volunteer at long-term care homes and other settings early in the program and available for paid work placements after three months.
“Today’s announcement is another major step towards hiring enough Personal Support Workers to provide the nation-leading four hours on average of direct daily care to residents,” said Minister Merrilee Fullerton. “Modernizing long-term care requires innovative solutions and programs that allow us to recruit and train PSWs quickly so that they can begin their meaningful work caring for our loved ones.”
At the center of this plan, the hours of direct care for residents will be increasing to an average of four hours per day over four years. To implement this initiative, the government is making immediate overall investments of $1.9 billion annually by 2024-2025.
Graduates will enter the workforce at the end of six months. The standard PSW programs at colleges take eight months to complete.
“Our graduates provide essential care to many of our most vulnerable citizens,” Common said. “We were pleased to collaborate with the province to create this new opportunity for students.”