Accelerated PSW program strengthens Ontario’s health-care system

Accelerated PSW program strengthens Ontario’s health-care system
PSWs can train via a condensed, fast-track, tuition-free program at an Ontario college

Our colleges are making a tremendous difference filling the demand for more personal support workers.

Starting last year, colleges have been offering fast-track, tuition-free programs that can be completed in six months rather than the standard timeframe of eight months.

The programs are funded by the Ontario government and have been a huge success. Last year, approximately 5,500 students enrolled in the accelerated programs, bolstering the standard PSW annual enrolment of about 2,000 students.

The programs use a hybrid model that combines online learning with in-person practical experience in laboratory classes available at the colleges and in care settings. In addition to the free tuition, students receive a subsidy to help pay for many of their expenses.

In the final three months of the program, students enter paid work placements.

The role of a PSW in long-term care home is critical to keeping people safe. Importantly, these additional students, combined with the regular PSW cohorts, contributed about 1.2-million hours of direct patient/resident care in health-care settings during their clinical placements. More than one million of those hours were dedicated to hands-on care for long-term care residents.

According to a recent Social Research and Demonstration Corporation report, the programs “responded to an urgent need for PSWs in the health sector. As a brand new, innovative initiative, the ability to develop, launch and implement the initiative – and to do so well within short timelines – was a huge achievement.”

A career as a PSW can be life changing. To hear just some examples of how these careers can change lives, check out this YouTube video from St. Lawrence College in Kingston:

Filling the demand for more PSWs is a critical part of Ontario’s efforts to strengthen the health-care workforce.

The tuition-free, fast-track programs are being offered again this year and there is still time for interested students to enrol in a program at one of our colleges. To learn more about how you or someone you know may enrol, be sure to visit this web page on the college system’s application site.


Linda Franklin

Linda Franklin is the past president and CEO of Colleges Ontario, the advocacy association for Ontario’s 24 colleges.