Training standards

To become a personal support worker (PSW), you should complete a PSW program at a college, private institute or board of education.

The Government of Ontario currently recognizes three PSW training standards:

PSWs and health aides who have graduated from programs meeting these training standards are allowed to work in all practice settings in Ontario, from the hospital to a patient’s home.  To find a school that meets these training standards, see our list of PSW programs.

PSWs and health aides are not yet recognized as regulated health professionals in Ontario.  That means PSWs and health aides cannot be “certified” or “registered” (though some schools use these words).  It also means there is no official governing body to regulate practicing PSWs.

Some employers may not ask for PSW training; however, for your safety and for the quality of care of your patients, it is highly recommended. Most employers will expect you to complete a  post-secondary PSW program before you start working, or expect that you display a willingness to be trained.

PSWs and long-term care

In July 2010, the Government of Ontario enacted the Long-Term Care Homes Act. A regulation to this act has changed the criteria under which a person working in a long-term care home may be considered a personal support worker. This section comes into effect on July 1, 2011 and is reprinted below:

Qualifications of personal support workers
47.  (1) Every licensee of a long-term care home shall ensure that on and after the first anniversary of the coming into force of this section, every person hired by the licensee as a personal support worker or to provide personal support services, regardless of title, has successfully completed a personal support worker program that meets the requirements in subsection (2).
(2) The personal support worker program,
(a) must meet,
(i) the vocational standards established by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities,
(ii) the standards established by the National Association of Career Colleges, or
(iii) the standards established by the Ontario Community Support Association; and
(b) must be a minimum of 600 hours in duration, counting both class time and practical experience time.

To find a school that meets these training standards, see our list of PSW programs.

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