Government of Ontario’s PSW Work For Life Initiative

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the Canadian healthcare system continues to scramble to provide optimal medical care across all settings.

One of the many challenges that are foreseeably weakening the system is maintaining an ever-decreasing healthcare workforce. 

Healthcare workers are experiencing fatigue with little support from healthcare organizations and the Government.

Many healthcare workers are leaving their profession because of these new stressors and other reasons.

In response, leading bodies such as the Government of Ontario have launched several programs.

There are new resources and programs to attract nurses and personal support workers (PSWs).

What is PSW Work For Life?

PSW Work For Life is an Ontario Government funded initiative implemented by the Home Care Ontario and the Ontario Community Support Association (OSCA). 

It is essentially a website that provides all the resources one would need to know when deciding to become a personal support worker.

The website provides an all-you-need-to-know information center about the opportunities and benefits that come with being a personal support worker (PSW). 

The following sections provide some highlights of what information you can expect to find on the personal support worker work for life program.

The Descriptions

The website provides a thorough description of what a personal support worker does according to Ontario standards. 

PSW Work for life basically describes information about personal support workers in layman terms.

In short, a PSW is considered a front-line, non-medical healthcare worker who assists patients with daily living tasks (dressing, eating, bathing, getting around, etc.) in order to aid in overall recovery.

Where do PSWs Work?

Personal support workers work in a wide variety of settings such as hospitals and long-term care homes and the community. 

The majority of PSWs work in the long-term care sector.

The need for PSWs in long-term care homes is stronger than ever, partially because of the pandemic and also because of the increased demands due to the aging population. 

Why Become a PSW?

The work for life personal support worker website lists some catching reasons for individuals to choose to become personal support workers.

More importantly, you have a kind heart and an urge to help those in need. 

There are many other reasons why you should seriously consider becoming a personal support worker. 

Some of these include flexible hours, job security, quick training, and participating in fulfilling work.

Joining the PSW Workforce

Become a personal support worker does require you to complete a diploma.

However, prerequisites for admission into a PSW program is a secondary schooling diploma and at least completion of 12th grade English.

Public and Private Colleges

The PSW diploma can be completed at either a public or an accredited private college.

If you are choosing a private college, keep in mind that it is an accredited college.

In addition, when choosing a private college, make sure you do your due diligence and ask the right questions

District School Boards

You can also become a PSW through some of the district school boards

Online PSW Programs

The best part is, there are many online options that you can choose to pursue your PSW education.

This is the best option as it allows you to complete the PSW diploma at your convenience and without the need to attend classes in person. 

Please note that you may be required to complete a practicum, which may be in-person. 

Free PSW Programs


There are many options to complete a PSW program at no cost to you

In fact, some of the programs pay you to become a personal support worker. 

The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are offering PSW programs in partnership with private and public colleges.

Most of the Government-funded PSW programs are free and there is no cost to the students. 

There is a free online PSW program that plans to accept 4000 students.

The Government of Ontario is offering a PSW educational program of a much bigger magnitude. It is an accelerated PSW training program that pays you as you learn to become a Personal Support Worker.

Click here to view further details and how to register for the FREE Government program.

There is another training program that will recruit 373 PSWs

There is also a Resident Support Aide program that you can do to work in long-term care homes. Please note that this is not a PSW course however will let you work in long-term care homes. 

There is also an initiative that offers a $5000 incentive for committing to work for 6 months provided you graduated from the PSW program after April 1st, 2020. 

(Please note that the above incentive and the two free programs are time-sensitive and being offered as of February 11, 2021. If you are reading this information at a future date, the incentive and the programs may not be offered).

What are the Training Programs Like?

Depending on which college or program you choose, you are looking at finishing your schooling anywhere between 4 months to one year. 

Each program usually includes a compilation of in-class (personal or online) training and fieldwork hours in an actual healthcare setting. 

Each program must comply with a specific set of clinical standards as specified by each Canadian province.

What are the Salaries of a PSW?

Personal Support Worker salary varies depending on experience level and the type of healthcare setting. 

According to the personal support worker work for life website, starting salaries begin at approximately $28,000 and can go up to $60,000 annually.

“Work for Life” also provides links to common job search sites such as Indeed, Monster, and Simply Hired. 

This campaign walks interested individuals through the entire journey of becoming a PSW in Ontario from start to finish. 

The “work for life” website is available to view in multiple languages and contact information is easily accessible for all visitors.

If you found the information useful, please share using the links at the top of the page. 

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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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