Ontario is striving to improve the care of seniors in their homes and communities by investing more heavily in the recruitment and retention of personal support workers (PSWs) in that province. More than 34,000 of Ontario's 100,000 PSWs deliver care, assistance and support to seniors and other people with complex care needs in their own homes and communities. During 2012/13, home and community sector PSWs delivered about 31 million hours of care to over 300,000 people including seniors and people with complex care needs.
The first step the province of Ontario is planning on taking is to increase the hourly wage of publicly-funded PSWs who work in home and community care settings by $4.00 over the next three years. Ontario is also setting a new base wage for these PSWs that will increase alongside the hourly wage to $16.50 per hour by April 1, 2016.
This is welcomed news for individuals currently working in the sector or for those that are considering entering the field. Additionally, Ontario through its new PSW Workforce Stabilization Strategy will:
- Develop measures to create more permanent and less casual employment for PSWs
- Help new graduates find work through an on-the-job orientation program
- Provide opportunities to strengthen sector leadership across the profession
- Further examine challenges affecting recruitment and retention, including how PSWs can become more involved in teams of health care professionals to better care for patients