Should Personal Support Workers get Liability Insurance?

There is a great deal of debate concerning the regulation, or lack thereof, of Personal Support Workers (PSW) in Ontario.

PSW’s are an integral part of the Canadian Healthcare System.

With roles such as home care, mobilization, grooming, dressing and more; personal support workers have a significant role in the life of the patients they are assigned to.

At current, there are very few regulations that directly affect PSW’s.

This concerns a considerable part of the population, especially the families of those in need of the services that are provided by personal support workers.


Another issue that is burning at the core is that of liability insurance.


Now, the question is

Should these workers be required to obtain some liability insurance? If so, what amount would be sufficient?

If so, what amount would be sufficient?

These questions, present the greatest challenge to the ultimate answer. This article will briefly explore these challenges as well as present a possible solution to the dilemma.

This article will briefly explore these challenges as well as present a possible solution to the dilemma.

THE Consensus

PSW Liability Insurance
Personal Support Worker liability insurance

If you would consult most people in Ontario that are aware of this issue they would tell you that personal support workers should be required to have liability insurance.

The rationale and logic behind this are simple.

A PSW is literally being trusted with the lives of the people they support.

This means that any mistake or malevolent behavior could result in the loss of property or life.

With a certain level of insurance in place, families with loved ones in the care of a support worker could have the confidence that if something happens to their loved one or their belongings, at the very worse; the family would be reimbursed for the damages.

This is not suggestive that lives can be quantified with a dollar amount, but there are certain financial expenses associated with the life and death of every individual.

These costs and value interests must be considered.

The option of having these support workers secure coverage through their employers should be explored.

This will allow the employer and the worker to share the cost.


This is where things become tricky.

How much insurance coverage should a personal support worker that is referred by the Canadian Healthcare System is required to maintain?

The concern of these workers is that the cost of maintaining the coverage would negatively impact their earning potential to the point that it would not be financially beneficial to work in that capacity.

The truth is that there are some well-established insurance companies that provide liability coverage at reasonably affordable rates.

One such company is the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada

There are other companies that provide PSW insurance as well. 

What also must be considered is the importance of the services a personal support worker provides.

What cannot happen is to have a significant exodus of workers based on exorbitant insurance costs.


How can this be balanced in a manner that provides the security that a patient deserves, while responsibly regulating the overhead involved in being a support worker?

The key would be in creating multiple tears of service.

Within these tears of service there would be different levels of requirements as far as the amount of insurance that is required.

The more engaged a PSW would be with a patient, the more insurance they would be required to have.

The minimum amount of insurance should be $50,000 with a maximum of $250,000.

There are those that believe that this amount is too much; however, having an amount much higher would encourage fraudulent claims, which would drive up the cost across the board.

This is a sensitive topic that will probably not be resolved in the future, but at the end of the day, the well being and security of the patient must be considered.

This means that insurance, at some level is required. In the light of the gravity of this situation, both sides of the argument must be willing to compromise.

Image credit: Used under a Creative Commons Attribution from alancleaver on Flickr


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Avlin is passionate about helping aspirants become better personal support workers. He is an entrepreneur and runs a clinic in Toronto.

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