According to the Department of Employment and Social Development in Canada, the PSW salary in Ontario is “among the highest” in its category of occupations in support of healthcare workers from across Canada.
Having said that, the Personal Support Worker salary varies depending upon where you work.
This is the single most deciding factor of how much you can earn as a PSW.
These are the three primary settings where PSWs work:
- Hospitals (about 7%),
- Long-Term Care (about 57%), and
- Community (about 36%)
In general, Hospitals are the highest paying followed by City-owned Long-Term Care homes.
There are other factors too that might affect your salary.
However, they might not have as much of an impact on how much you get paid:
- Location (City)
- Continuing education
- Certain skills that are required by the employer
- Ability to speak read and write another language
PSW SALARY ENHANCEMENT
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced in April 2014, a “PSW Wage Enhancement Initiative” as part of the PSW Workforce Stabilization Strategy.
The purpose of this wage enhancement initiative was to increase PSW Salary by up to $4 per hour over three years.
This salary increase, however, applies only to Personal Support Workers who work in the community and provide “publically funded” personal support services.
With this increase, as of April 01, 2016, all PSWs providing services that are publically funded must be getting a minimum of $16.50 per hour.
WHAT ARE PUBLICALLY FUNDED PSW SERVICES?
In Ontario, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provide local health services through the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).
When someone needs care in the community, LHINs determine if the type of care required is eligible for government-funded services.
If it is, LHINs Case Managers, also called Integrated Care Coordinators, liaise with providers (agencies) to arrange for PSWs to provide such care.
It is this care that you provide qualifies as “publically funded” and warrants a minimum wage of $16.50 from your employing agency.
If you work in the following settings and your Personal Support Services are funded by LHIN, you qualify for a base rate of $16.50:
- Adult day programs,
- Overnight respite, and
- Provide services as part of the Centre of Independent Living in Toronto.
THE TIMELINE OF PSW SALARY INCREASE
Government’s PSW wage enhancement directive aimed to bring minimum wage of PSWs providing publically funded personal support services in the community to $16.50 by April 01, 2016.
Here’s how this increase was rolled out:
|Date of Effect||Increase||Minimum Hourly Salary|
|April 1, 2014||$1.50||$14.00|
|April 1, 2015||$1.50||$15.50|
|April 1, 2016||$1.50||$16.50|
DID YOU GET THE RAISE?
As per the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 95% of employers (agencies) that hire PSWs for providing publically funded home care services, followed ministry directives.
The remaining 5% of agencies did not give PSWs the raise as mandated by the ministry.
The ministry is aware of these employers and is taking steps to bring them into compliance.
If you’re not getting the base hourly rate from your employer and believe you’re eligible for the wage increase, you have the right to speak to your employer to determine your eligibility.
PSWs WAGE ENHANCEMENT TO $19
PSWs working with community care agencies that are associated with LIHNs can expect to be paid $19 per hour.
This is over and above the base wage of $16.50 that is in effect from April 01, 2016.
As part of the PSW Workforce Stabilization strategy, the government continued it’s commitment to enhancing wages for PSWs working in the community and providing publically funded care.
An extension of this strategy is the new PSW salary of upto a maximum of $19 per hour.
Here are the three main directives of this extension regarding PSW salary. As previously stated, it only applies to Personal Support Workers providing publically funded care in the community.
- The base PSW salary is set to $16.50 per hour,
- Hourly wage increase of $1.00 per hour to a maximum of $19 per hour, retroactive to April 1, 2016, and
- The employer must maintain this hourly salary for the duration of your employment.
Also, note that the $19 per hour wage applies only to hours spent doing direct client care.
It does not include the hours you spend traveling or for training and education purposes.
You must also be aware of the stipulation that your employer must honor any future wage increases as per your collective agreement or the employment contract.
Your employer must honor the new increase in your wages.
The compliance is mandatory and applies whether you’re a temporary, casual, part-time or full-time employee.
PSW SALARY INCREASE AND ENHANCEMENT EXPLAINED
It can be tricky to get your head around and figure out how much you should be paid.
Here’s another take to help you understand this.
All Personal Support Workers who work with community care agencies and provide services eligible for public funding must be getting $16.50 per hour as of April 01, 2016.
On top of this, a further enhancement applies to your pay as of April 01, 2016 resulting in a maximum wage of up to $19.00 per hour.
This enhancement is part of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s broader “PSW Workforce Stabilization Strategy”.
This strategy mandates a raise of $1.00 per hour up to a maximum of $19.00 per hour for all Personal Support Workers providing direct personal support services (see below for eligible services) in the home and community care settings.
Here are some example scenarios to help you better understand this:
|Base Pay as of April 01, 2016||Wage Enhancement||New Hourly Wage|
As shown in the table above, if you’re getting paid $18.50, only $0.50 will apply as wage enhancement to make your pay to $19.00.
Similarly, if you’re already at a maximum of $19.00, you’ll not get any enhancement in your hourly rate.
ELIGIBLE PERSONAL SUPPORT SERVICES?
The $1.00 wage enhancement on top of the base pay of $16.50 per hour applies only to PSWs providing publically funded Personal Support Services.
As per the Home Care and Community Services act, 1994, following are considered Personal Support Services:
1. Personal hygiene activities.
2. Routine personal activities of daily living (ADL’s).
3. Assisting a person with any of the personal hygiene activities or ADL’s.
4. Training a person to carry out or assist with any of the personal hygiene activities or ADL’s.
5. Providing prescribed equipment, supplies or other goods.
6. Services prescribed as personal support services.
Any of the work you do in the community that is not direct care is not eligible for the $1.00 wage enhancement.
As per the Home Care and Community Services act, 1994, following are not considered Personal Support Services:
2. Doing laundry
7. Paying bills
8. Planning menus
9. Preparing meals
10. Caring for children
11. Assisting a person with any of the activities mentioned above
12. Training a person to carry out or assist with any of the activities mentioned above
13. Providing prescribed equipment, supplies or other goods.
14. Services prescribed as homemaking services
DID YOU NOT GET THE WAGE ENHANCEMENT?
There might be two scenarios under which you’ve not been given an enhancement to the $16.50 base pay, despite the fact that the care you provide is publically funded.
One of the reason could be that your employer did not participate in Government’s PSW wage enhancement program.
In this case, there is nothing much you can do.
It was your employer’s decision to not participate and accept the funding to provide you a wage enhancement.
You can question your employer though.
Other reason could be that your employer is non-compliant with government’s directives.
You see, agencies that participated in the wage enhancement program were to provide a “Certificate of Compliance” to the Ministry through the LIHN they are associated with.
The deadline to provide this certificate was August 15, 2016.
You have the right to question your employer on this as well.
PSWs THAT ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THIS RAISE
Please note that the wage enhancement initiative is only for PSWs working in the community (that provide LHIN funded care) and does not apply to PSWs working in:
- long-term care homes, or
- providing private care in the community.
PSWs providing services that are not “Personal Support Services” are also not eligible for the raise.
Some examples of non-Personal Support Services are:
- Grocery shopping.
- Companionship, and
- Light housekeeping etc.
PSW PAY RATE BY REGION
Ontario is the second largest province in Canada and is the most populated.
It is divided into many regions including the vast north and the densely populated south.
PSWs provide services in every nook and corner of Ontario in the form of community care or care in facility-based settings.
In the community, PSWs wage depends on the requirements of the job, work conditions, type of care needed, location and the availability.
The market report for Personal Support Workers, a comprehensive wage analysis by the Government of Ontario, provides a breakdown of PSW wages in different regions of Ontario.
Check out the details below:
HOSPITAL PAY RATE FOR PSWs
Hospitals are starting to hire Personal Support Workers in many inpatient units.
The pay for PSWs working in Ontario hospitals can be in the upwards of $22 per hour.
For most of the part-time positions, you also earn a certain percentage in lieu of benefits.
For example, Brampton Civic Hospital pays a maximum of $22.75 per hour and 14% in lieu of benefits.
As a result of the in lieu pay, your hourly rate becomes $25.93!
Here’s a list of average pay rates for PSWs from some of the Ontario hospitals:
|Hospital||Average Salary per hour|
|St. Joseph's, Toronto||$23.62|
|St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto||$24.49|
|North York General Hospital||$19.86|
|Brampton Civic Hospital||$23.13|
|Etobicoke General Hospital||$23.13|
|Lakeridge Health, Oshawa||$23.22|
|Hamilton General Hospital||$24.71|
|Markham Stouffville Hospital||$21.59|
|Norfolk General Hospital||$22.04|
|Atikokan General Hospital||$21.56|
|Queensway Carleton Hospital, Ottawa||$22.37|
LONG-TERM CARE/NURSING HOME PAY RATE
More than 50% of Ontario Personal Support Workers work in Long-term care and Nursing homes.
Out of all the Long-term care homes in Ontario:
- 57% are privately owned,
- 24% are managed by the non-profit/charitable organization, and
- 7% are owned and operated by the municipalities.
All these facilities are publically funded and regulated by the provincial government.
PSWs get paid the most with Long-term care homes operated by the municipalities.
Depending on the size, each municipality operates several long-term care homes. For example, the City of Toronto operates 10 Long-term care homes.
Privately owned long-term care homes usually do not disclose the salary until you’re hired.
Here are some examples of what you can expect to get paid as a PSW when working in a Long-term care homes:
|Region/Munciaplity/Long-Term Care Home||Average Hourly Pay Rate|
|Region of Peel||$24.33|
|Region of Waterloo||$24.82|
|County of Simcoe||$20.64|
|City of London||$23.01|
|City of Thunder Bay||$22.30|
|City of Sudbury||$24.86|
|County of Essex||$23.09|
As is evident, PSW salary is fairly competitive and is expected to get even better.
You see, Ontario Healthcare system is stressed by the rising healthcare costs.
To prevent the situation from worsening further, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has developed “Healthcare Action Plan ” which aims at increasing home and community care funding.
Considering the fact that 70% of home and community care in Ontario is provided by Personal Support Workers and Community Support Workers, there will be more jobs for these healthcare workers.
But due to attrition of existing workforce and multifold increase in the number of seniors requiring care, it will be hard to catch-up with the demand for PSW’s.
Due to above mentioned antagonistic forces, PSW’s are going to be in high demand but there won’t be enough of them to fulfill that demand.
This means only one thing: Personal Support Workers salary will go up.
EXAMPLES OF PAY RATE
There is a wide array of pay scales for Personal Support Workers. Here are some of the examples of hourly pay offered by employers on Ontario. These snapshots have been taken from PSW job descriptions posted by various employees.
For facility-based care through employment agencies
For Home/Residential Care through employment agencies
Independent/Private Long-Term Care homes (Nursing homes)
City-owned Long-Term Care homes (Nursing homes)
If you’re not getting the enhanced salary from your employer, we would like to hear from you.
Provide your scenario in the comments section below. You don’t have to include any of your personal details or name the employer.
If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it!