There are many organizations that provide or assist with free PSW courses.
Despite being “free”, there may be some minimal fee involved for books, First aid courses, etc.
Long-term care homes in Canada, especially in the province of Ontario, have been the battleground for COVID-19. As a result, there has been and continues to be an extreme shortage of Personal Support Workers (PSWs).
In order to appreciate their hard work, the Government of Ontario recently announced a pay hike for PSWs.
There still remains a severe shortage of PSWs, especially in long-term care homes. In order to address this problem, some colleges are offering free PSW programs.
Each organization that provides such courses has its own eligibility criteria. Additionally, there may also be an entrance test for some programs.
Government Of Ontario’s PSW Programs
The Government of Ontario has introduced many initiatives to train and recruit Personal Support Workers.
Please note that these are time-sensitive programs. The information is current as of March 02, 2021. These programs may not be available if you’re reading this at a future date.
Accelerated PSW Training Program
This is a program that will train and recruit 6000 new students.
This program is being offered through publically funded Community Colleges across Ontario.
This is a condensed 6-month long program that includes 3 months of an in-class theory component and 3 months of paid training.
In addition, this initiative will provide $2000 assistance to 2200 students who are currently enrolled in PSW programs at publically funded Community Colleges.
Train and Recruit 373 PSWs
There is another provincially funded program of smaller magnitude than the one mentioned above.
Under this program, 373 students will be able to get free training and subsequent recruitment.
Resident Support Aide Program
Please note that a Resident Support Aide is not the same as a Personal Support Worker.
There are key differences between the two.
The information is included here because it is also a free program with very short training.
PSW Work for Life Initiative
PSW “Work for Life” initiative is another provincial Government-funded initiative that is not a training program.
It is geared towards raising awareness about the opportunities and benefits of becoming a Personal Support Worker.
Supportive Care Program at Conestoga College
This a free program offered by Conestoga College in partnership with Spectrum Healthcare.
Do note that a Supportive Care Aide is not the same as a Personal Support Worker.
However, after completion of this program, you have the option to continue your studies and become a Personal Support Worker.
If you choose to enroll in the PSW program at Conestoga College, you will be granted credits for term 1 of the program.
Free Quality of Care Training by University of Toronto
This is a free online training provided by the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) in collaboration with Closing the Gap healthcare.
Please note that this is not a PSW certification program.
It is an online training program for improving the quality of care delivery.
It is a great training regimen that you must highly consider taking.
The best part is,
Once you complete the online training, you will get a completion certificate from the University of Toronto.
This training will be a great asset for you in your job search.
Catholic District School Board
Program cost – less than $1000
Orientation is mandatory and a literacy exam must be taken prior to registration.
Criminal record checks and other medical requirements must also be fulfilled.
For more information, call the Oshawa Campus at 905.438.0570 or the Ajax Campus at 905.683.7713
Click here to visit their website.
Thames Valley District School Board
Program cost: $1000
Information sessions must be attended and meet other prerequisites.
For more information, call the Thames Valley District School Board at 452-2660, ext. 69730.
Find out more by visiting their website.
Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto
Free Dementia Care training for PSW’s in Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Continuing education is a vital part of healthcare professions and PSW’s are no exception. Many avenues exist to attend free workshops, conferences and take courses.
One such organization is the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto.
They offer free PSW training for the further professional development of Personal Support Workers.
Visit the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto to get more information.
Which Colleges are Offering the Free PSW Program?
According to Global News, both Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, and Trios College (which includes 3 of its 8 locations in Ontario) has teamed up with a company called ParaMed Home Health Care.
Together, they have launched an accelerated 20-week free PSW course.
The course is free for students because it is being funded by ParaMed and by government grants.
Are the Programs Online or in-person?
Programs include a combination of remote learning (virtual), in-person labs, and fieldwork placements at multiple healthcare locations across the region.
What’s the catch?
Yes, there is a catch!
The catch is that prospective students who would like to participate in these free courses must sign a contract with ParaMed, committing to work one year with their company after graduation.
The overall goal of ParaMed (and many other healthcare companies throughout Canada) is to create incentives to increase the PSW workforce.
This free PSW course however has a very limited intake.
How Can One Apply to the Free PSW Program?
Prospective students have to visit the website for each college and apply for their “fast delivery” 20-week personal support worker program.
Click here to view the free PSW course offering by Conestoga College. Since tuition coverage goes into effect in November 2020 and may not be listed on the webpage yet, email the program contacts on the webpage to discuss the contract with ParaMed Home Health.
Conestoga College is also offering several sign-up incentives such as a $500 entrance award, free CPR and first aid certification, and free uniforms.
If you are reading this information at a future date, please note that these incentives may not be available.
Please also note that the free PSW program may not be available at the time you come across this information.
It is best to check directly with the college.
Click here to view free PSW course offerings by Trios college.
Please note that intake for the free PSW course may be limited or stopped at any time. Please contact the college to verify if there are still any spots left.
Do Applicants Need to Have a Healthcare Background?
At this time, applicants are not required to have a background in healthcare in order to qualify for program acceptance.
As mentioned in the article, Personal Support Workers are urgently needed due to the pandemic surge in Canada.
The government is willing to assist interested persons in any way in completing their certification and solidifying the workforce.
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